It's a bit of a structural and thematic hodgepodge, and a few key moments feel cursorily handled, but "Evan's Crime" remains an effectively scrappy and involving us-against-them drama.
Evan White (Douglas Smith) is a 20-year-old Baton Rouge, La., college student and musician with a pretty girlfriend (Annika Noelle), blue-collar, widower dad (Jason Kirkpatrick) and mismatched pair of bandmate pals, the upright Bobby (Anthony Traina) and the skeevier Cash (Caleb Spillyards).
While traveling for a club gig, a nexus of events involving a small amount of drugs, $1,500 in legit-earned cash and a nosy motel manager turns nightmarish for the innocent Evan: He's arrested for dope dealing, railroaded into a plea deal by ruthless federal prosecutor Coleman (a solid David Arquette) and imprisoned for seven years.
The real "crime" here is what happens to Evan as a victim of the amoral Coleman, who's attempting to cement his tough-guy bona fides for a run at higher office. But when freed from prison, will a haunted, disoriented Evan allow his enemy to flourish — or seek revenge against him?
The script by director Sandy Tung, David Assael and Dale Rosenbloom distractingly flips back and forth in time when a more linear approach might have lent this 1970s-tinged B-movie greater momentum. Still, as a loaded look at overzealous drug-offense sentencing, the film makes a mark.
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes