Most people at sometime in their life have done something that falls on the side of wrong. Sure there are different degrees of wrongdoing, I mean forgetting to return a book to the library is not the same as killing someone. In some cases the guilt can drive one to look for ways to right that wrong, or to get a second chance. The thing about that though is there are times where it has to be a two way street. If the library doesn’t believe in forgiveness then you won’t be checking out any books for there anytime soon, no matter how sorry you are.
Joe (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is just such a man looking for a second chance. Having been just released from jail after serving six years, the most important thing is seeing his daughters. Once out in the real world, Joe finds just how much getting a second chance depends on other parties. It doesn’t take long for Joe to find trouble and it is that trouble that becomes a web that makes it harder to escape as Joe fights to. When unfinished business comes knocking back at Joe’s door, he must choose earning that second chance or making the same mistakes again.
Taken from a novel by David Zeltserman, “Small Crimes” doesn’t need a second chance to grab you; it accomplishes that with the first viewing.
Adapting this story of redemption to the screen is Macon Blair and E.L. Katz, who also steps into the director’s chair. The story peels away like an onion, exposing a different layer as it progresses. It isn’t until the half waypoint that you know what led Joe to the path that took him to jail. Like with all good stories of redemption, Joe gets what he seeks, but maybe not quite in the way he expected. “Small Crimes” serves as more proof that Netflix isn’t just making quality TV shows; it also has something up its sleeve when it comes to original films. What they accomplish is not a trick, as “Small Crimes” shows once again Netflix is just making good content, period.