Denton is not the slightest bit remorseful, but he sure is sorry. Formerly a
corrupt cop, the recently released ex-con has caused a lot of trouble for
people close to him. However, the truth of the incident he did time for is even
worse than people think. Unfortunately for Denton and his prospects for a
straight life, the gangster who ordered it all might be considering turning
deathbed stool pigeon in E.L. Katz’s Small
which debuts on Netflix this Friday.
might have conned the parole board, but his long-suffering parents doubt
whether he has truly reformed—not that they will see much of him after his
release. Having survived a random, small-time set-up (awkwardly orchestrated by
the wayward daughter of Phil Coakley, a prosecutor literally scarred by Denton’s
misadventures), the ex-cop gets a good talking-to from his ex-partner, Lt.
Pleasant, who isn’t. Vassey, the gangster who ordered the disastrous hit-job
Denton claimed was self-defense, has been having long conversations with
Coakley. Pleasant insists Denton must kill Vassey or potentially suffer the
getting close enough to Vassey will be difficult, thanks to the interference of
his psychotic son Junior and the diligent care of his nurse, Charlotte Boyd.
Denton starts romancing her for strategic reasons, but finds himself genuinely attracted
to Boyd, which complicates matters even further.
Small Crimes is an insidiously
clever one-darned-thing-after-another crime thriller, featuring a veritable who’s
who of genre cult favorites in its supporting cast. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (from
Game of Thrones) is absolutely
terrific as Denton. He has such disheveled sad sack charm, you lose track of
how truly degenerate he is, until the totality of his jerkweedness comes back
to roost down the stretch. He also develops some surprisingly subtle and mature
chemistry with Molly Parker’s Boyd.
Macon Blair (screenwriter and star of Blue Ruin) adds color and poignancy as Scotty, the oblivious brother of the best
friend Denton kind of, sort of killed, while Pat Healy does his thing as the
sadistic Junior. Larry Fessenden adds further genre cred in a small but appropriately
sleazy role. However, nobody upstages or in any way steps in the light of Gary
Cole’s entertainingly evil Lt. Pleasant.
Crimes is old school all the way.
Its characters exist in a world where evil prospers because it is more fun. Katz
keeps the noir badness lean and mean, with credit also due to the tight work of
frequent horror movie editor (and sometimes actor) Josh Ethier. If you want to
enjoy some skullduggery without any tiresome teaching moments, this is your cup
of spiked tea. Enthusiastically recommended for hardboiled fans, Small Crimes starts streaming this
Friday (4/28) on Netflix.
Labels: E.L. Katz, Gary Cole, Larry Fessenden, Macon Blair, Netflix, Pat Healy