Small Town Murder Songs

Poster for Small Town Murder Songs

Autumn 2011 Features series

Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly

Screenplay by Ed Gass-Donnelly

Starring Jill Hennessy, Amy Rutherford and Peter Stormare

Rated NR · 1h 15m

View trailer

Small Town Murder Songs

Directed by Ed Gass-Donelly, Small Town Murder Songs is set in a small Ontario town that has to deal with its first murder victim in decades, an attractive young woman who is found naked on the shores of the nearby lake. The woman is not local and while the Ontario Provincial Police have taken the lead in the investigation, Chief of Police Walter (Peter Stormare), assists where he can.

The town is mostly a close-knit Mennonite community and Walter has recently returned to his church. He is also trying to deal with his own temper that led to a violent incident some months before. When the young woman is identified, it becomes apparent that Walter’s former love interest (Jill Hennessey) may be lying. As he delves deeper into the crime, his newly reformed life begins to unravel threatening his relationship with Sam (Martha Plimpton) and intertwining itself within the investigation and possibly the murder itself.

Stephen Holden in The New York Times reckons Small Town Murder Songs “is compellingly acted from top to bottom. As the raw passions of its hard-bitten characters seep into you, the songs hammer them even more deeply into your consciousness. The film’s only flaw — a big one — is its brevity.”

In The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstein states that: “Some movies make you pay close attention to whatever is going on, and this is one of them, even though very little is going on in the conventional sense of action. The filmmaker, Mr. Gass-Donnelly, has the courage of his deliberativeness. Small Town Murder Songs moves so deliberately, with such confident authority, that every small event takes on cumulative significance, whether it’s Walter wielding a tree branch as he approaches a dangerous dog, or Martha Plimpton, as his god-fearing wife, holding both of his hands across a table in a moment of prayer.