Two social scientists (Mekhi Phifer and Sterling K. Brown) pose as bank robbers in a small all-white Southern town to understand the racial dynamics of small-town law enforcement. However, their experiment takes an unplanned, deadly turn as a local sheriff (William Sadler) has his own questions to ask, as one of the two scientists goes missing and everyone’s motives are not quite as they seem.
The Suspect is an interesting little pot boiler of a film that succeeds with a payoff we don’t necessarily see coming. First time writer/director Stuart Connelly unfolds his narrative in a fairly clean fashion, and while certain elements come off as a little telegraphed, others offer up some genuine surprises. It’s a well shot film that maximizes its surroundings for creating mood. The strength of the overall premise makes it easier to over look any mild logic flaws in the story since it’s easy to buy into the action.
Phifer delivers a strong, measured performance as simply “The Suspect”. We always know that he’s hiding a secret, but as it all unfolds he makes for an excellent guide to the twists that come with the journey. Sadler makes for a strong foil as both men keep their true intentions close to the vest.
Despite some uneven moments, it does more than enough right to make for a solid dramatic thriller. (Dave Voigt)
Wednesday, February 12th, 7:00pm, Carlton Cinema
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