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{Film review} Under the fold

December 3, 2021

Maybe it’s because I live in the Midwest and have my whole life. Or maybe it’s my lingering frustration with the way Midwesterners have traditionally been portrayed onscreen. Maybe it’s even my own exhaustion defending my region despite understanding that the region’s politics tend to earn its reputation. These reasons mean I don’t like movies set in the Midwest. I do not. I said it. Films set in the urban centers of the heart of the country often do not represent the complexities of city life, and the depictions of rural life are even worse. Writer / Director Clayton Scott made me a believer. Her debut movie Below the Fold manages to capture just how complex small town life can be (I know that sounds like an oxymoron. It sort of is). The film gives us something that we don’t see often. It is a gentle examination of how things can escalate in small communities. Below the Fold is not interested in making fun of the people who live in small towns in Missouri, but rather seeks to tell their stories in a true and honest way, even if those stories do not positively reflect the people involved or the people involved. cities in which they live. It’s extremely fair, and in this way, Under the Fold is both important and unique.

The main character in the film is Skidmore, Missouri, a town best known for an incident where the town bully was gunned down in broad daylight in front of several witnesses and people did not say a word to investigators. He’s a character in which Scott makes sure to capture that the town is old and small. Its inhabitants mostly reflect the city. However, like a few places I know well, Skidmore is a proud and calm town, weary of strangers and defensive of those who remain. It could be Greentop, Jamesport or Gallatin. Having lived and passed through these towns all my life, Scott perfectly captures the dynamics and politics of life in these areas, without giving them free passes. There is affection here, even as the subject seeks to explore the underside of these cities. Some films tend to despise the small towns they criticize. Below the Fold’s greatest achievement comes from its ability to ignore impulses to discuss Skidmore and its residents as caricatures. The story and its setting seem real, although the story is more of an amalgamation of different incidents.

When David Fremont (Davis DeRock) reporter for the Maryville Daily (Maryville itself a small town full of controversy and shady history) is tasked with investigating a ten-year-old kidnapping of a young girl from Skidmore the small town once was no longer forced to reckon with her story. DeRock manages to imbue Fremont with the general disdain / love for the small towns he covers in his rhythm with the paper. When Lisa Johnson (Sarah Maguire) begins working for the newspaper, Fremont’s normal apathetic view of work receives a surge of energy as the two focus almost exclusively on following up on new leads provided by their investigation. Maguire’s performance is at the heart of the film. She comes across as a strong female journalist who feels OF the region but not limited by the same rules and standards. She’s gone out and back and while we don’t have full details of her trip, we do know that they made her a stronger person. Maguire’s performance is absolutely fierce and a pleasure to watch.

Both actors have excellent boyfriend cop energy and that helps the movie move forward quickly. If anything, the drama that seems to permeate the history of the two has often struck me as unnecessary and I found myself wanting to get back to the investigation. it often slows down the movie a bit and therefore doesn’t help me worry about either. I already cared, I didn’t necessarily need all of this stuff to create membership. It’s a rare little misstep in a movie that pulls off almost everything else.

The ending of Below the Fold will come as no surprise. Villains are easy to spot, and crime and its perpetrators are heinous enough that it ticks most of the boxes for a good crime thriller. David Fincher’s influence is everywhere in this film, from the color palette that makes even the brightest sunny day look damn dark, to journalists who have just enough information to push it but never enough to solve the problem. case. This lack of information, coupled with the fact that everyone seems to hate journalists, makes Fremont and Johnson’s job almost a Sisyphus. Again, Scott manages to get the tone just right. With the well-documented decline of local newspapers, small communities seem to be leaning into the “fake news” label that some politicians use carelessly. The end result is that the death of small town periodicals seems to be an ominous harbinger for the towns themselves. Below, the Fold’s ultimate message is that our local newspapers are an integral part of small town life. If we lose them, who else will tell these people’s stories? The stories that are below the waterline are worth telling and Scott is the only one telling them.

Below the Fold is available on most major streaming platforms.

Tyler unsell

Tyler has been the editor-in-chief of Signal Horizon since its inception. He is also the principal of Monsters 101 at Truman State University, a class that combines horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle school and high school students learn critical thinking. When he’s not watching, teaching, or thinking about horror, he’s the director of debate and forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.

The publication {Movie Review} Below the Fold first appeared on Signal Horizon Magazine.