Disturbing the Peace (2020)

A group of bank-robbing bikers hits a town where the local marshal has given up on carrying a gun years before after an incident on the job, their violence force the marshal to get back into action and defend his small town.

Written by Chuck Hustmyre and directed by York Alec Shackleton, this small town story takes a lawman who has lost some of his glory and catapults him right in the middle of an explosive situation. Here the lead character has layers from the start and the rest of the characters are fairly one-dimensional until the bad guys arrive and then you get a lead baddie who’s got a bit more to him and the rest of them are fairly interchangeable. From these characters, the story develops with of course the lead marshal and the lead baddie being the central characters to follow through the whole film. All that being said, the story is entertaining with a few twists here and there; a few odd are ideas included that make the film seem a bit off at times, but on the overall, it works pretty well as a bank heist film from varying points of view. The direction of this story is good. It works for the film, building some tension and some action that works for the film.

The lead being Guy Pierce means that he’s at the very least going to be good and here he works out fairly great in the part of the conflicted marshal who must take it upon himself to do what he must. His internal battle shows in Pierce’s performance, he gives his character interest here and is the focus of the film no matter what. He’s clearly the star here. Playing against him as the lead baddie is Devon Sawa who also does good work, but a few choices here and there feel a bit off, thus making his performance good, but not exactly on par with Pierce’s. Something about his character feels off, but it might be rooted in the writing or the directing or the acting, or really a mix of all. He does do a good baddie lately, so his performance has some fun about it if you like them on the dark side. The rest of the cast is decent in most cases with a few not-so-great performances here and there, but as the latter are not getting that much screen time, they are not exactly a problem.

Something that much be noted here is the look and feel of the film. Being that it’s a lower budget film, some of it can be attributed to that, but having seen thousands of even-lower budget films, that is not the only factor to this. In short, the film looks and feels like a tv movie, a bit like those late 90’s TV movies that had more action and rugged male leads. Here it works both for and against the film. It’s hard to explain but this style comes off a bit dated while also giving the viewer a bit of nostalgia. The cinematography by Curtis Petersen is in big part responsible for that, but it still looks good in terms of a low budget bank heist films. One choice must be questioned, without spoiling it of course, and it can be easy to spot near the end of the film, there is a lighting and framing sequence that just doesn’t fit. The light outside of the location and then inside just do not match, it makes the scene feel tacked on for the sake of the ending and it feels out of place and a bit much.

Disturbing the Peace is a decent film that does its job as a bank heist film, the two leads do good work with Pierce being the standout, the rest of the cast is good, the film has a few issues here and there. The film is overall fun with some surprising moments, it feels a bit older but it doesn’t really hinder it. It’s the kind of film you can easily watch on a weekend afternoon.