Small Crimes isn’t Westeros, but Jamie Lannister still decided to turn up. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Joe Denton, a corrupt cop recently out of prison for attempted murder.
Alcoholic narcissist Denton was put away after carving up the local District Attorney more than a Christmas turkey, but we’re informed early on that he wants to make amends and seeks to redeem his actions. Unfortunately for him, but fortunate for the keen viewer, this doesn’t last very long, and soon enough Denton stirs up even more problems than he can handle.
“Coster-Waldau is at his best throughout, especially in the final act that leaves you gut-punched, down and out while reaching for the white flag.”
Small Towns often feels like a metaphor for Purgatory. Frequently enough the audience is reminded how Denton is looking for redemption, scrambling for his ticket into Paradise. But the film leaves you tentatively accompanying Denton’s faltering attempts as he indulges back into his alcoholic and sinful tendencies.
Limbo continues for both Denton and the viewer, as Coster-Waldau perfectly embodies a man that you may struggle to not empathise with, no matter the crimes and sins he continues to commit. Everyone and his dog is giving Denton the evil eye, his mother has an infestation of hatred and disgust alongside the dying love for her lost son, and his wife and children refuse to talk to him.
Katz – alongside fellow writers Cole and Blair – plays with the characters of Small Crimes wonderfully, and continues to ask persistent questions to the audience about second chances and redemption. We see Denton leave prison on a bright blue day full of hope and promise, the justice system working and a man reborn into the light. But soon he is plunged back into a world of hate and regret, telling a tale of how all men are evil when put in the worst of circumstances.
Coster-Waldau is at his best throughout, especially in the final act that leaves you gut-punched, down and out while reaching for the white flag. The complicated plot quickly unfolds and will answer all your questions in the most horrifying of fashions. The deadbeat protagonist of Denton is shown is many different lights, but only in the heart racing final showdown will you truly see what a nestle of thorns Small Crimes really is.
At its heart, Small Crimes is an impressive Netflix hidden gem about second chances, and whether or not we deserve them. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking thriller with the King Slayer himself, you can certainly look further than Game of Thrones.