This comic crime tale (which played the 2011 Sundance Film Festival under the title "The Convincer") is set in Wisconsin, so it's literally, not just figuratively, bordering on the Minnesota milieu of the Coen Brothers' "Fargo."
Insurance salesman Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear) is in deep money trouble, thanks to a gambling addiction and shady deals, so he jumps at the opportunity to sell some insurance to a crotchety farmer (Alan Arkin) who owns a rare violin. The plot thickens when an unstable ex-con locksmith (Billy Crudup) gets involved, and soon there's a dead body and a frozen lake in the mix.
Director Jill Sprecher, co-writing with her sister Karen, attracts a cool cast including Lea Thompson as Mickey's ex-wife and Bob Balaban as a nervous violin expert but then fails to give them much to do. The pokey and overly long buildup leads to a head-scratching twist ending that flies past too quickly to allow us to marvel on its cleverness.
Opens Friday, April 6, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for language, and brief violent and sexual content; 93 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.