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Review

'All Mistakes Buried' uncovers fine acting with a gritty mood

Time and memory collapse and overlap in the mind of a grieving addict in Tim McCann's "All Mistakes Buried." Lead actor Sam Trammell — who also earns a "story by" credit on the film — plays the wildly strung-out Sonny, hollow-eyed, fast-talking and manic, living in a dumpy motel, copping drugs however he can.

He becomes determined to patch things up with his wife, Jen (Missy Yager), which he thinks he can accomplish with the return of an heirloom necklace he's pawned. During an ill-advised tryst with a call girl, Sonny loses possession of the necklace and sets out on an odyssey to retrieve it from a crime syndicate. He delves into the underworld of his town, tangling with the local madam, the tough, feline Frankie (Vanessa Ferlito).

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McCann's film has a certain golden griminess to it; a sweat-stained yellow filter is accented with pops of deep crimson. The world in which this story unfolds is a seedy, sad and dark place. Trammell carries the film with the physicality of his performance as the jittery, panicked Sonny, exerting a tremendous effort to contain his rising desperation and hysteria.

Repeated moments, overlapping dialogue and the low thrum of the sound design work together to express Sonny's experience of the world: his drug-addled consciousness struggling to discern the past, present and the demons of his memory. The twists and turns of this stylish and well-acted if minor thriller bring Sonny to unexpected yet apt conclusions.

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All Mistakes Buried

No MPAA Rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on January 22, 2016, in the Entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "It's grim, gritty and well acted - `ALL MISTAKES BURIED'" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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