Behind this quite misleading title, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek hides a pretty solid indie slow-burner unfolding in real-time. And if I love something, it’s movies unfolding in real-time. I also think this gimmick adds more suspense and immersion to the atmosphere, sucking you into the screen. Especially if there’s an element of mystery to the story together with another interesting gimmick, a ticking clock. Finally, when you add to this the closed environment, you get this pressure cooker that’s constantly on the verge of exploding.

In a lot of ways, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek is similar to minimalist nineties thrillers like Reservoir Dogs or The Usual Suspects. We follow a group of militiamen after a fatal shooting trying to figure out who and why committed it. The characters are relatively well-developed, needing just a little bit of aloofness to be perfect. The whole movie feels like a play and stylish visuals only emphasize that. Also, the issues we will be talking about are very current and intriguing.

I wouldn’t call this a character study but it’s damn near close to it. We learn more about what motivates these people and how they feel. Moreover, we will learn more about loneliness. At times, the script sounds too self-indulgent but the rest of it is really good. I especially liked the whole interrogation techniques thing. If you’re a fan of such things, I recommend you check out The Behavior Panel on YouTube.

It’s been some time now since Gannon quit the police and joined the local militia. He spends his days hunting and living off the grid in a trailer near the forest. One night, while he was making dinner, he hears a popping sound. After turning on his police scanner, Gannon realizes that there’s been a shooting and that some of his fellow militia members is probably responsible for it. So, he gets into his car and heads for their secret headquarters not knowing that what’s about to follow is going to change his life forever.

I have to tell you that there won’t be much action in this movie. If you’re expecting a western or a hostage situation, you won’t find it here. However, what you will find is a suspenseful thriller full of mystery. And one hell of a cast. Led by one of the probably most underrated actors in Hollywood today, James Badge Dale. He seems to have specialized for these military/law enforcement roles probably because of his breakout role in the Pacific. He followed it up with World War Z, 13 Hours, and Spectral. Chris Mulkey and Patrick Fischler were also great along with Happy Anderson whom you might remember as Jerry Brudos from Mindhunter.

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek is Henry Dunham’s directorial debut and he fucking nailed it! You can feel that this is a man who loves making movies and can’t wait to see what’s his next project. If you liked the slower pace and authentic style of this movie, check out Too Old to Die Young. This miniseries is unlike everything I ever saw consisting of static, neon-lit scenes but it somehow works. The director is none other than Nicolas Winding Refn of his Pusher and Drive fame.

Director: Henry Dunham

Writer: Henry Dunham

Cast: James Badge Dale, Chris Mulkey, Patrick Fischler, Happy Anderson, Brian Geraghty, Robert Aramayo

Fun Facts: The original, pre-production title of the movie was Militia.

Rating:

IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5304996/

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