SXSW 2023: Citizen Sleuth, Last Stop Larrimah, The New Americans: Gaming a Revolution | Festivals & Awards
Larrimah is an outpost in the Australian outback with a population of 11. Wait, no 10. Yes, it’s a murder story in a town so small that everyone who lives there literally knows everyone else who lives there. It’s almost an Agatha Christie story in that someone in the room must have done it. Produced by Mark Duplass & Jay Duplass, “Last Stop Larrimah” opens as a story of a quaint, simple part of the world, only to push in and reveal incredible infighting, grudges, and histories among these people. Who killed Paddy Moriarty? Believe it or not, half the town could be considered a reasonable suspect.
Thomas Tancred breaks his true story up into five chapters, but they’re not distinct enough. I think there could have been a better way to structure the film, perhaps focusing one at a time on key suspects like the unforgettable Fran, who sells meat pies that people come to get from miles away, or Barry, the pub owner who often kicked Paddy out for being too drunk. Disputes over dogs, lots of booze, and general hostility led to the disappearance and presumed death of Paddy, but this is more a study of a region than a whodunit. It’s one of those well-made films that reveals the little towns you pass by on your way to somewhere that has secrets too. And some of them include murder.
It’s not a true crime documentary per se, but Ondi Timoner’s “The New Americans: Gaming a Revolution” certainly includes some white-collar nonsense that could be called criminal. Timoner crams so much information into her documentary about the financial insanity that unfolded ever since everyone was handed a check during the pandemic in an era wherein they could drop that money into the stock market just by using their phones. The director of “We Live in Public” is interested in how tech has impacted finance in the 2020s, using a meme-driven approach to tell the story of what has basically been a revolution, shifting power away from Wall Street to everyday Americans. Timoner’s film suffers by trying to do too much too quickly, pushing so many ideas into one film in an effort to almost overwhelm the viewer instead of educating them.