Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
USA, 2019. Rising Creek. Screenplay by Don M. Thompson, Matthew Pope. Cinematography by Matthew Rogers. Produced by Matthew Pope, Don M. Thompson. Music by Brooke Blair, Will Blair. Production Design by Russ Williamson. Costume Design by Dana Konick. Film Editing by M.R. Boxley.
This spare, dark and intense film opens with Bethany Anne Lind standing over the dead body of a man who attacked her while she was working in her economically struggling auto body shop. She decides to drag the body to his home, thinking she has cleaned up her tracks until she realizes that she is missing her necklace and believes it might be on his corpse. It’s too late to recover as the deceased’s family has already found him and is trying to figure out who did the deed, so she goes to her estranged sheriff father (Will Patton) for help.
Lind’s life is already overly complicated, her husband is in jail for stealing cars and her son is on parole after a fight at school left a fellow student blind. Her only hope for the future is the possibility that the young man might be able to turn his life around and get more out of this grubby little town they live in than she ever did.
Violent and sharp, the drama of this film holds you as you watch this character go from desperate to full despair, her resolve remaining intact as each scene brings with it the revelation of a number of explosive secrets. Elisabeth Röhm is excellent as the widow of the opening scene’s victim, who brings along her own determination to make things right: a successful community needs to draw the circle of its family much wider than what we have here if these towns are going to succeed against the odds, but director Matthew Pope has little hope that this will happen.
The conclusion is devastating but it’s well worth the effort, a fine-tuned mood piece that never spills into grim self-indulgence.