Kelly M. Hudson
A Good Crime Flick is Hard to Find!
Sarah (Sarah Bolger) is a single mother trying to raise her two children, a young boy and girl, all alone in the inner city. Her husband was murdered just a few months before, shot dead on the dangerous streets, and the police seem to care little for finding the killer. They assume he was a drug dealer because that’s the word on the street and they refuse to waste their time. This leaves Sarah in a bad spot. Her son, who witnessed the murder, has stopped speaking. She has little money and is struggling to survive. The world around her could care less and she has a fussy mother who pleads with her to toughen up and stop being a doormat. One day, a young criminal enters her life and sets off a reaction that will lead to murder and the discovery of who killed her husband. This man has stolen drugs from the local kingpin and is using Sarah’s apartment to hide his stash. His idea is that it’s the perfect place and he offers her a cut of his sales. Soon, though, he wants more from her, and the bad guys have figured out who stole their drugs and where he’s hiding them. They are coming for her and her kids, and Sarah must now find a way to fight back.
This is one of those quiet little independent movies that invests a lot of time and energy into the main character and her predicament. The crime elements, as well as the violence, are all backdrop for the struggles Sarah is going through. Until they aren’t anymore. About halfway through, they explode into the foreground and Sarah’s character undergoes a painful but necessary transformation. Bolger is a powerful force in this film; her acting conveys both vulnerability and strength, and she plays this to the fullest, even in the gory and bloody climax. She gets her revenge and it is spectacular, but she never loses who she is; she just grows stronger and more resolute. The story itself is fairly standard and it leans on common crime tropes, but does so in a good way. The bad guys are all interesting and really easy to hate, so when their comeuppance happens, you’ll find yourself cheering. And revenge is had, oh yes it is. Bloody, messy, nasty revenge. But again, this isn’t the kind of movie that beats you over the head. It quietly unravels its story, adding layer upon layer, weaving a deep and compelling narrative. You’ll root hard for Sarah by the end, for her and her kids and for justice. And yes, you will revel in the bloodshed.
This is an old-school kind of crime/revenge flick. It reaches back to the 70s for its tone and pacing. It is certainly dark and noirish and unforgiving, as well as unblinking. The decrepit urban setting tells you just about all you need to know in regard to the desperate situation all those living in the area are under. The economic realities of being a poor, single parent, living in a world filled with drugs and violence, a world you try to shelter your kids from but literally comes knocking on your door despite your best efforts, are on full display here. A Good Woman is Hard to Find is a great description. Dirty, dark, harrowing, frightening, and yet it still tells a compelling tale of redemption and deliverance. Don’t miss out on this one; it’s a dandy.