Every once in awhile you get a title that completely works. “Small Town Murder Songs” perfectly tells you what the movie is about while showing its distinctive, cool style.
Peter Stormare (“Fargo”, “The Big Lebowski”) is a police officer of a small Canadian town. He’s trying to keep a low profile, ashamed of the things he’s done in his past. He does his job well and goes home to his supportive wife (Marth Plimpton). Too much attention is put on him when a young girl is murdered in his city and he feels it’s his responsibility to personally find the killer.
He moves awkwardly in every scene. He fidgets and doesn’t exactly know how to talk to people. Stormare plays him like he’s uncomfortable in his own skin. Small towns give the illusion that everything is at peace and orderly, but the best ones have their wrinkles. This character hints that anybody could have something twisted in their past, which opens doors for everyone else.
Writer/director Ed Gass-Donnelly throws in another great element by having the editing style punctuate something more. The song choices and their placement in the film are electrically jarring. Gass-Donnelly already had a ken eye with the look of the film, but this makes the film stand out to other stories of its kind.
The story is a bit familiar, but that’s because there are a billion stories like this in the genre. ”Small Town Murder Songs” is able to stand out by being a strong entry that doesn’t push the story past what it can offer. It’s a brisk 75 minutes, but that’s plenty of time to establish the cool feel of this world. One of the easiest films to recommend.