The Riot Act

First time director Devon Parks also wrote the screenplay for this period piece which tells the tale of murder, deceit, revenge, and family ties broken. A thriller set just past the turn of the 20th century in Van Buren, Arkansas. Despite the fact that it is a low budget film Parks has not allowed that to limit his story or the way he wants it told.

Rich and powerful, Dr. Willard Pearrow (Matt Cullen – from television’s True Detective) does not approve of his daughter Allye’s (Lauren Sweetser – Winter’s Bone, Pali Road) love for a married man, so after he learns of their plans to run away together he takes matters into his own hands and shoots the man down in cold blood. A shocked, injured and grief stricken Allye manages to get away, but there is one more witness to the murder. A witness no one knew about.

Now Allye comes back to Van Buren two years later as part of a travelling vaudeville troupe. The troupe has been engaged by young stage hand August (Connor Price – Cinderella Man, Carrie – 2013) and hired to play at Dr. Pearrow’s theatre. Allye stays in a mask so no one can recognize her, especially her father.

Soon she realizes she is not the only one in town with revenge on their minds and finds herself working with the mysterious ghost who has been haunting her father.

At times, I am sure due to budgetary constraints, the story felt a little rushed for my liking, but you have to take The Riot Act for what it is. A low budget film with more good to it than bad and a young director who proves he has a future in the medium.

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