Small Crime is just the kind of fun film you need to cleanse your palate half-way through an 11-day film festival. In the midst of a sea of dark, heavy, obtuse, ultra-serious films it's nice to see one that doesn't take itself too serious.
Watching Leonidas slowly work his through the possible causes of former-football-star-turned-village-drunk Zacharias's death is just plain enjoyable. A little more than a smidge on the comic side, Small Crime is also colored by romance and a ton of gorgeous, breathtaking footage of the Greek Island where the story takes place. - none of these facets overpowering the other. The film is well balance and very effectively alters the murder/mystery into an engaging feature. At only 85 minutes, this is one of the films I felt i could have watched for another 2 hours.
Interspersed with the linear plot, we see several scenarios of Zacharias's possible cause of death as Leonidas imagines them when each new piece of evidence arises. Each scenario has a different culprit who causes Zacharias's deadly fall over the cliff. Generally these scenarios are intended to be a bit absurdist, if not outright humorous.
Through the course of the investigation, Leonidas becomes romantically involved with the alleged daughter of the deceased. No pomp and circumstance, bells or whistles, this subplot is carefully understated like a touch of coriander in a recipe, adding a pleasing complexity without overpowering everything else. It's enjoyable to watch this casual love story unfold and gradually change Leonidas from slightly clumsy and lacking a bit in confidence to a well centered individual.
It's a small island town, so the small universe theme tends to apply but not like a bludgeoning as it was in Trailerpark. Everyone has an opinion and a small piece of information that may or may not be important to Leonidas's investigation. Separating opinions from fact and extraneous information from evidence leads him deeper into a wily pursuit of the truth.
A great part of following Leonidas on his investigation is that we're not following him through Detroit. We're following him around one of the Greek Aegean islands. Spectacular sun, glorious cliffs, vivid colors fill nearly every frame. Lonely Planet ought to use this film for one of their travel videos on Greece. Really, you could even enjoy this film with the sound off. In some ways the breathtaking scenery serves as great foil to enhance oddity of the investigation.
No question that this was a fantastic surprise. It was another of my last-second additions to my viewing schedule. I can't really say more than, "That was fun." I'm glad I blundered into this film, it's a permanent addition to my film library / lexicon.
Find this film and see it.
This Film: A