Ooh, I love seeing movies knowing literally nothing about it before hand. An avid horror fan friend took me to see Man from Reno so my assumption was that I was in for a treat of a thriller. Boy was I right.
A lady crime writer from Japan and a super old dude police chief from a small American town make an unlikely crime solving duo. Set in the States with a half American and half Japanese cast, this film was a real surprise. The script for this film probably read like a old-timey mystery novel. All the tropes are there: policeman set in his ways, a mystery writer caught in a real life crime story, creepy henchmen, fancy hotel, boat houses, sexy bad guy, nerdy side-kick and bad weather. But somehow it never felt tired. It’s comforting to see an story telling standard but when it’s set in present day and there’s a mix of throwback and modern aspects, it feels cozy and fun.
This odd pairing of leads was the thing that grabbed me most about the film. A young woman and an older man doesn’t sound great, but it worked here thanks to the writing. Played by two unknown (to me) actors, our main pals bond like work colleagues. Lady crime writer quickly becomes the best mystery-solving partner police chief has ever had. It was refreshing to see anything other than two older men solving crimes.
I’m really loving this kind of newish trend in indie and lower budget movies where old standards are juxtaposed with modern twists. In this case, a great, concise kind of vintage way of telling mystery/crime stories is matched with a very specific setting with an atypical cast made this a gem of a movie.