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Review: Driving a tow truck can be dangerous business in crime drama '22 Chaser'

Review: Driving a tow truck can be dangerous business in crime drama '22 Chaser'
Brian J. Smith in the movie "22 Chaser." (Gravitas Ventures)

Who knew driving a tow truck could be such a dangerous business?

The Canadian crime drama “22 Chaser” — directed by Rafal Sokolowski, from a script by an “Orphan Black” writer-producer, Jeremy Boxen — functions as an exposé of a surprisingly sleazy job, and the gritty story of a good Toronto man who gets in over his head. It’s a reasonably grabby tale despite its familiarity and trying too hard to make its milieu menacing.

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Brian J. Smith plays Ben, an honorable tow-truck driver in an industry where the competition races to the site of accidents, then misleads crash victims into over-paying for tows. When his boss dangles the promise of a lucrative contract with the police, Ben borrows money from a loan shark to keep his truck on the road, then has to consider violating his code of ethics to pay back what he owes.

Towing company accident-chasers are a real thing; and “22 Chaser” does a fine job of establishing how Ben suffers because he plays by the rules. Sokolowski and Boxen also get across how “you gotta spend money to make money” is a terrible life-plan for someone just scraping by.

Ultimately though, Ben comes off as too smart and resourceful to keep doing work that makes him so miserable — which makes the whole movie come off as overly contrived. Toronto’s a big city, with lots of other opportunities. No one’s that passionate about towing.

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‘22 Chaser’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills; also on VOD

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