Its 3:53 pm
When I recently posted my review for “Dark Was The Night” I noticed that that was my first film from RLJ Entertainment that I had put on the blog. Now one review later,I’m back with my second review. So why did it take so long to share some excellent films on here with you all? I honestly have no answers for that and that only I will be sharing many reviews from what is rapidly becoming one of our favorite film companies.
I bought my copy of “The Standoff At Sparrow Creek” based on some great word of mouth from a few reviewers whom I trust. While I was a little nervous about the plot being too much like “Reservior Dogs”,within 3 minutes I knew I had nothing to worry about..
The film,set in Michigan,opens at night with a ex-cop named Gannon (James Badge Gale) sitting at home when suddenly heavy automatic weapons fire is heard in the distance. He walks outside to listen and he hears explosions as well.
Gannon,who is part of a small militia group,then heads over to where the group has its headquarters in a warehouse outside of town. The radio is reporting a ambush/assault on an policeman’s funeral and that there “heavy casualties”.
Soon the other six members arrive,also hearing the news. The leader is Ford (Chris Mulkey) and he takes charge of the group. The first thing he orders is to check their aresenal and when an AR-15 and several grenades among other things are missing,the men know that one of their own has caused this event but no one is raising their hands admitting it.
Ford decides that three best suspects are Morris (Happy Anderson) a former member of the Aryan Brotherhood,Noah (Brian Geraghty),whose whereabouts are questioned and Keating (Robert Aramayo),the youngest member who also seem mute.
Ford has Beckmann (Patrick Fischler) moniter the radio to alert them to any police responses coming their way.
Ford wants Gannon to handle the questioning based on his being a ex-cop. Gannon talks to Noah first and tells Noah he knows he is a UC working within the group,he then tackles Morris who freely admits to the shooting but Ford exposes Morris as a pretender. Ford tells Gannon he thinks Noah did it and wants to kill him but Gannon feels Keating has done it and starts to question him harshly before Keating shows he can talk.
Meanwhile Beckmann tells the group that other militias from various states,emboldend by the Michigan group have started attacking police stations. Ford urges him to disavow any actions and tell the other attacking militias that they didn’t have anything to do with it.
With time running out,Gannon has one last ace to play to expose Keating before Ford decides to kill Noah…..
Wow,this is just an amaazing film….while the cast is brilliant and does a tremendous job,led by the veteran Mulkey and and Gale,in turning up the tension,this film really sizzles thanks to writer-director Henry Dunham. “Sparrow” is Dunham’s first feature film that he has written and directed but it doesn’t feel like a first time effort. Sparrow reads like a Andrew Vachss novel,lean,mean and yet very muscular.
He keeps his characters in a tight space but it feels like the walls are constanting moving. He takes a risk and has no score,its just the seven men trying to figure out who has done this terrible crime. One senses that these men except for the oldest member Hubbel (Gene Jones) just really aren’t prepared to really act yet there they are…the camerawork by Jackson Hunt is pale with lots of shadows and darkness. Even in the well lit scenes,it still feels dark and murky.
The one weird vibe I got is I had a sense of a hint of science-fiction,as it seems “Sparrow” doesn’t quite feel quite in this world. That could be us but still….Dunham is a very talented director and one whose next film I’ll be looking forward to seeing.
“The Standoff At Sparrow Creek” has a run time of 88 minutes and isn’t rated.
Special features are limited to a 10 minutes “Making of….” featurette.
You can order “The Standoff At Sparrow Creek” by visiting the RLJE Films website.
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