Movie Review: Jaime Lannister goes ex-con weary in the uneven Netflix genre riff Small Crimes

As Joe Denton, the hapless ex-cop/ex-con protagonist of Small Crimes, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau wears a thick goatee that somehow, all by itself, transforms his look from Lannister nobility into discount Josh Brolin. That’s entirely appropriate for this seedy exercise in corruption and redemption—the sophomore feature from Evan Katz, who was credited as E.L. Katz on his 2014 debut, Cheap Thrills. As the film begins, Joe is being released from prison after a six-year stretch, though the details of his crimes are slow to emerge; conversations with the ironically named Lieutenant Pleasant (Gary Cole) makes it clear that Joe was previously on the force, where both were involved in graft and murder, but the dialogue throughout is naturalistic rather than expository. For a while, all we really know about Joe is that his life is in ruins: His ex-wife has left town with their two young daughters and …

As Joe Denton, the hapless ex-cop/ex-con protagonist of Small Crimes, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau wears a thick goatee that somehow, all by itself, transforms his look from Lannister nobility into discount Josh Brolin. That’s entirely appropriate for this seedy exercise in corruption and redemption—the sophomore feature from Evan Katz, who was credited as E.L. Katz on his 2014 debut, Cheap Thrills. As the film begins, Joe is being released from prison after a six-year stretch, though the details of his crimes are slow to emerge; conversations with the ironically named Lieutenant Pleasant (Gary Cole) makes it clear that Joe was previously on the force, where both were involved in graft and murder, but the dialogue throughout is naturalistic rather than expository. For a while, all we really know about Joe is that his life is in ruins: His ex-wife has left town with their two young daughters and ...