Scenes of the Crime

Don’t let Scenes of the Crime‘s direct-to-video pedigree fool you; this is actually a surprisingly decent little thriller featuring a heck of an impressive cast. Jeff Bridges stars as Jimmy Berg, a mobster held hostage by a rival (Jon Abrahams) who’s under strict orders not to let him go until a certain financial situation has been resolved. The film also stars Morris Chestnut, Madchen Amick, R. Lee Ermey, Bob Gunton, Peter Greene, and – in a odd bit of casting that, strangely enough, actually works – ER nice guy Noah Wyle as a sinister assassin. Director Dominique Forma effectively keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, stumbling only in the negotiating sequences between Bridges’ partner and Abrahams’ boss. While comparisons to Phone Booth are inevitable – the majority of the film involves the two central characters waiting in a van, surrounded by men with guns – Scenes of the Crime has a lot more going for it than just that premise (not that there’s anything wrong with that premise, really). Bridges, as expected, gives an engaging, intense performance – turning Jimmy into more than just a high-ranking thug. And c’mon, it’s impossible not to get a kick out of watching Wyle kill a man using a silenced pistol.

*** out of ****

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