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Small Town Murder Songs (2011)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

47

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 1,187

My Rating

Movie Info

A modern, gothic tale of crime and redemption about an aging police officer from a small Ontario Mennonite town who hides a violent past until a local murder upsets the calm of his newly reformed life. -- (C) Official Site

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Ed Gass-Donnelly

Jul 19, 2011

$30.9k

Monterey Media - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (4) | DVD (1)

"Small Town Murder Songs" moves so deliberately, with such confident authority, that every small event takes on cumulative significance...

July 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beneath a deceptive calm, it uncovers a core of fear and loathing as ominous as the backwoods world of "Winter's Bone."

June 30, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A redemption parable that occasionally finds balladlike lyricism in its biblical solemnity and oddball Lynchian rhythms.

June 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Boldly succinct yet confident enough to take its time.

June 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

STMS succeeds as an Ontario Gothic mood piece, a story of alternately repressed and exploding passion.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rarely does cinema sight and sound mesh as boldly as this, and it's all to the good.

February 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... the film is only an hour-and-a-quarter long, and that's just as well; spells are hard to sustain. Yet it's big enough.

July 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Atmospherically steeped in rural noir. . .Stormare's agonized face keeps the focus on more a tormented character study than a mystery. . .greatly heightened by rootsy songs.

July 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

Peter Stormare is a limited actor who only manages to exude the resolute nothingness of the role.

June 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The soundtrack ... goes miles toward making what would be an unmanageably dour experience into an acute emotional resonance; the songs are freed to say more than the characters onscreen.

June 30, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Stormare's performance towers over the flimsy story. Besides the effective ensemble acting, another asset is the outstanding cinematography. This captivatingly haunting crime drama never gets tiresome and knows when to bring the...

June 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

Why are recent movies about small towns with murderous secrets so good?

June 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

A lawman seeking redemption can't seem to escape sin in Ed Gass-Donnelly's haunting, rural drama.

June 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

For all that Small Town Murder Songs hints at, there isn't enough delivery here.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

While it's easy to admire the unique stylistic accents director Ed Gass-Donnelly fearlessly applies to his northern Ontario murder mystery, it's not so easy to enjoy them.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: NOW Toronto
NOW Toronto

The force in Stormare's performance is enough to suggest we've witnessed only a fraction of the character's anguish.

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY
eye WEEKLY

...Small Town Murder Songs [features] an oppressively deliberate pace that effectively holds the viewer at arm's length from start to finish...

February 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Small Town Murder Songs

A small-town Ontario sheriff in a Mennonite community must confront the demons of his past when his ex-lover's boyfriend is the prime suspect of a murder.
Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal sums up this film perfectly: the film "moves so deliberately, with such confident authority, that every small event takes on cumulative significance." Yes, but the slowness, or in Morgenstern's words, "deliberateness," of the film weighs on its subject. I think it's easy to know that the film knows where it's going, but that doesn't mean that we always do. And the title cards between the film's chapters are wholly unnecessary and do little to advance the plot or clarify the themes.
Peter Stormare is very good, creating a strong character out of subtle moments, and the rest of the cast rides on his coattails.
Overall, this is a good film, but it's pace can easily drag on the impatient viewer.
January 17, 2013
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

if not for the terrible soundtrack i might have even rated this film a half a star higher. the music didnt fit in almost any scene of the entire film. having said that, this is an excellent small budget character study. in some spots the script left some things unsaid, and with a slightly longer running time the film could have fleshed out a few ideas better, but for a 1 hour and 16 minute movie this little crime story delivered extremely well. stormare was very good in the lead.
November 7, 2011
sanjurosamurai
danny d

Super Reviewer

FIRST FLIXSTER REVIEW!

I liked this gritty little film. Understated performances all around in a dark and quite depressing story about a town a lot like the one I grew up in, and write bad fiction about... a body turns up, a cop finds it, the trail seems to point to his ex-wife's new boyfriend. Shit, meet fan. Tough and engrossing work, by times cliched or overwrought, but in other times strong for its simplicity. Thank you, Air Canada, for airing Canadian films. I don't know how else I would have wound up seeing this. On the whole, I'm glad I did.
November 25, 2010
danperry17

Super Reviewer

"Small Town Murder Songs" starts with Walter(Peter Stormare), a police chief, being baptized. That cannot prepare him emotionally for the discovery of the dead body of a young woman. At least, Detective Washington(Ari Cohen) arrives from the big city to help out. There is a break in the case when Walter recognizes the voice on the 911 tape as being Rita(Jill Hennessy) which leads to Steve(Stephen Eric McIntyre) who Walter had recently had an altercation with.

The best thing about the otherwise turgid "Small Town Murder Songs" is how much fun it is to watch Peter Stormare inhabit a character very different from the reprobates he usually plays.(Alas, the same cannot be said for Martha Plimpton.) In this story of a man wanting to escape or at least stop talking about his dangerous past, the main character is given a murky backstory while the mystery is simply glossed over. Even with its scant running time, the movie feels stretched to the limit. At least, the songs are cool.
October 12, 2012
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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