Small Crimes

Small Crimes ★★★½

Not sure what it is about E.L. Katz’s seedy, scuzzbucket protagonists that appeal to me more than most modern-day indie noir antiheroes, but, man, I’m pickin’ up what he’s puttin’ down. While not quite the same exhilarating trip through id-powered greedy self-effacement as the criminally underrated Cheap Thrills, Katz’s Netflix-only follow-up Small Crimes works as a tense, small-scale potboiler of dirty cops, dirtier ex-cons, and ye olde textbook destructive narcissism, a twisty tale less concerned with narrative cohesion than it is with making sure you feel just as filthy and corrupt as the amoral denizens sullying up every second of screentime. I can’t quite describe the film as a good time—the (somewhat) innocent are thoroughly punished throughout—but it’s a damned intriguing one, made all the more so by Gary Cole, Jackie Weaver, and Robert Forster doing some kickass scenery chewing. (Well, Forster doesn’t chew the scenery so much as woodenly berate it, but I like the guy. Sue me.) Not great, but, hell, I don’t expect greatness from Netflix originals. Compelling will do.