Every now and then a movie comes along that takes you completely by surprise. Award-winning filmmaker Bruce Sweeney’s new film The Crimes of Mike Recket does just that.
A neo-noir police procedural thriller dealing in murder, real estate fraud, dogs, a crook who believes his own lies and two stalwart cops.
Nicholas Lea plays the titular Mike Recket, a failed real estate agent who is in desperate need of cash, and almost believing his own lies, seeks out and begins conning and wooing a middle-aged widow, Leslie Klemper (Gabrielle Rose) through her dog, all to get his hands on her house, or rather the money her house is worth.
He lies to her, his family, deflecting their concern and interest in the events of his life, and simply buries himself deeper and deeper as things go pear-shaped.
Soon enough the cops are involved, two detectives Shane Knost (Paul Skrudland) and Tim Kephrinski (Raphael Kepinski) are tenacious, unstoppable and have their goals set on bringing Recket in, interviewing his sometimes wife, Jasleen (Agam Darshi), and his less than helpful sister, Gillian (Jillian Fargey).
The film tells the entire tale, as the case progresses, intercutting with seamless flashbacks, as Sweeney who also wrote the tale, takes the viewer through the dastardly events.
Through it all, Lea, who turns in a fantastic performance, maintains an important measure of likability, while stunning the viewers with his rash decisions, and the sheer stupidity of some of his actions – best encapsulated when he meets up with an old friend, to ask for forgiveness for stealing from him 20-odd years ago, and as soon as he has that forgiveness, promptly asks for money.
As you watch the film, you find yourself hoping that perhaps we’ll get a scene that shows us that he didn’t commit these crimes, that he’s a schmuck, but he’s not as bad as he seems.
He’s a sociopath, and even when confronted with the truth, he rails against it, trying to twist it around to suit his purposes.
Sweeney, who shot the film over two years, has crafted a wonderful film that just carries you along with it, caught up in the performances and the story.
Each of the characters is thought out and completely formed. The best example of this is the pair of detectives. When first introduced, they both seem strait-laced and focussed on the case, but the more the film progresses, you realize there is more to these two characters, a sense of humour begins to reveal itself, you learn who’s the good cop, and who’s the bad cop when it comes to interviews, each of the characters have layers, but none of them hold a candle to Mike Recket.
I can’t recommend this film enough for anyone interested in police procedurals, or the neo-noir genre. It’s gorgeously shot, the flashback transitions are excellent, the story captures you, the dialogue is top-notch, and some of it is just surprisingly funny.
Shot in and around Vancouver, the film is a wonderful addition to Canadian cinema and to this year’s TIFF program. If you have a chance it screens one more time this evening.