If you’ve ever seen The Pacific or the gone too soon series Rubicon, you’ll know James Badge Dale has leading man potential. Though he’s a solid character actor by trade, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek places him front and center, and for 89 minutes he, along with an equally invested ensemble, deliver a story to remember.
Gannon (Dale) is a disillusioned former cop who hears gunfire during the dead of night. He immediately drives off towards a lumber warehouse, a site where he and six other militia men bond over their shared distaste over the state of things.
The shots fired originated from a police funeral, and when a check of the group’s storage area reveals a missing AR-15 and hand grenades, the culprit’s identity is drastically narrowed. Since the shooter must be one of the crew, group head Ford (Chris Mulkey) tasks Gannon with questioning the prime suspects.
Most of the narrative deals with Gannon’s questioning of his seemingly close colleagues, and since Gannon was an expert interrogator, these tension filled conversations ultimately end in is favor (or do they?). Brian Geraghty, who previously co-starred with Dale in Flight, is Gannon’s go-to guy in the crew, and it’s a connection which may ultimately lead to their undoing. Rounding out the militia are Robert Aramayo, Patrick Fischler, Happy Anderson, and Gene Jones.
Giving away explicit details would possibly ruin one’s overall enjoyment of the tale, but each of these actors have their respective moments to shine in this tightly wound story. Writer/director Henry Dunham and cinematographer Jackson Hunt keep the visuals refreshingly unadorned, realizing that any showy embellishments would simply detract from the story at hand.
Years ago I switched to black coffee simply for the flavor. Cream and sugar, in most cases, should be left on the counter, because a good cup of Joe gives a big enough kick all by its lonesome. Without giving anything away, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek delivers a knockout punch of an ending, leaving zero traces of any doubt whodunnit. If you dig the sparse yet ultimately immersive work of David Mamet (Spartan) or Sidney Lumet (Prince of the City, 12 Angry Men), then look no further, a boiling fresh pot of cinema is headed your way.
4.5 out of 5
**The Standoff at Sparrow Creek opens in theaters, VOD, & Digital HD on January 18.
To check out our discussion of The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, listen to this month’s episode of CinemAddicts: