An old friend pleads for help. Weeks later, he is said to be found unresponsive, floating belly up in the shallow tide of some Malibu beach. It wouldn’t be long before the world discovers that beloved Hollywood Director Pete Smalls, is dead.
Days later, KC Munk (Peter Dinklage) gets a distressed phone call from best friend Jack (Mark Boone Junior) who prompts him to attend the funeral. After a near fatal encounter with a loan shark, KC is then forced to forage his way to Los Angles to bury a body, collect a check, and rescue a man’s only best friend, his dog, Buddha.
A narrative, “Pete Smalls is Dead” is portrayed mainly through the eyes of KC. Wherever he goes, we go, whatever he says, we listen and, if there are any questions unanswered, we wait until he finds them. It is throughout this process that we learn all that we can about Pete Smalls, after all, he is dead…
Weaving full speed on the back of Jack’s moped, we watch as KC cruises through the City of Angels in an effort to uncover the remnants of Pete Smalls’ last living moments. Before long, a fateful attraction, and a mutual friend, leads KC to the workplace of Saskia, a femme fetal with revenge brewing on her horizon. With his daughter in tow, Jack escorts KC and company over the border and into Mexico to unravel the latest mystery that led the infamous Pete Smalls to his tragic end.
Cinematically, traces of Billy Wilder’s 1940’s film noir “Double Indemnity” can be seen in much of Alexander Rockwell’s direction –
Not to mention a plethora of theatrical elements, a femme fetal in need of rescue, a determined narrator, and a stupendous cast of characters, who know as much about the deceased as the audience, and multiple iris in and out’s that create a sort of Looney Tunes like tale.
Veteran actor Peter Dinklage mosey’s eloquently down the streets of Los Angeles portraying the ill-fated KC with humorous candour in Alexander Rockwell’s sordid film. A captivating performer, Dinklage is able keep audiences entertained amidst a dreary mystery. To accommodate the ever free spirited Jack, a charming sidekick, Mark Boone Junior delivers candid one – liners all the while dabbling in occasional Stooges – like behaviour. On the other side of the city, Steve Buscemi and Lena Heady Coyote and Road Runner their way across the screen in multiple chase sequences that procure momentary fits of laughter, carrying the film just over the threshold of absurdity. A damsel in distress, Theresa Wayman, adequately portrays an alluring counterpart to KC’s lack luster attitude.
As a result, “Pete Smalls is Dead”, is without a doubt a film that strives to entice the audience, and at times, appease them; propelling viewers to follow KC, as he relentlessly tries to unravel the tight knit needle in an interwoven thread, into the sunset and beyond.