David Strathairn is a low-key but terrific actor and I really enjoy his work, as in this film. Here he plays Jackson Kinley, a Pulitzer Prize winning crime writer who goes back to his small Georgia hometown and discovers a mystery in a 40-year old murder case.
He is prompted to act by an old friend, a sheriff, who left clues for him before he died and the woman (Mary McDonnell as Dora Overton) whose father was convicted of the murder.
As Jackson tries to fit the pieces together, the more inconsistencies he unravels which eventually lead him to believe that the wrong man was convicted. But what he discovers is completely unexpected because it affects him in a number of ways.
The film has plot twists with nothing given away so it keeps your interest up and works between present day and flashbacks that reveal subtle layers of the past.
A love scene between Jackson and Dora is itself subtle and very nicely played. In fact, the whole film has a rather easy going feel to it despite the building suspense. I think this is partly due to the Georgia locale and to the actors who portray very believable characters who are both unsure of their feelings for each other.
You can tell good writing when even a minor character, as in the case of the quirky town doctor, is instantly revealed in just a few precious moments of screen time.
Lotta says this is an intelligent, well acted suspense, filled with twists and turns like a good country road. Rent it!