The kidnapping and murder of a young woman in a sleepy 1950s Middle America hamlet send the intertwining lives of three good ol’ boys into a tailspin in “The Aviation Cocktail.”
When the firing squad formed by the townsfolk fails to execute the suspect (Mark Hanson), the three men — brothers Henry (Beau Kiger) and Jack (Michael Haskins) and their friend Bob (Brandon Eaton) — finish the deed.
Instead of bringing the community together, the incident exacerbates problems already lurking under the town’s placid surface. Henry, the local sheriff, has a drinking problem. His wife (Leah Lockhart) carries on an affair with Bob, a World War II veteran with an alcohol problem of his own. The entire town apparently knows about the liaison except for Henry, and Jack also keeps it a secret so as to not upset his brother.
There are rich veins to mine here had writer-director David R. Higgins bothered: vigilantism, guilt, substance abuse, infidelity, spousal abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, small-town dread, postwar America. Instead, Higgins seems far more intrigued by period planes and cars. The 19 vintage vehicles listed in the end credits make you wish the same kind of attention to detail had been paid to the film’s story, or at least its nondescript 2000s indie soundtrack.
“The Aviation Cocktail”
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.