Crown and Anchor is a slow-burn crime drama with a big heart, a lot of personality, and an engaging story that was made for all the right reasons. It tells the story of James, a Straight Edge Toronto cop who returns home to Saint John's, Newfoundland to attend his mother's funeral. There he's met with a cool reception due to the drama that originally forced him to leave. And he sticks around, attempting to help out family members that don't necessarily want his help.
Overall, the movie is well directed, with some solid performances from Mike Rowe (TV's Deadshot) as James, childhood friend Matt Wells as cousin Danny, and Robert Joy (The Hills Have Eyes). Editing and pacing could be quicker, as the cut of the film that I saw was nearly three hours long. Some larger edits would also help - an entire sub plot about slot machines could be removed without any significant impact on the plot.
The soundtrack is killer, with a lot of great classic Straight Edge and hardcore punk. The movie was directed by Andrew Rowe, who was Straight Edge for 10 years, and Michael Rowe's character James listens to a lot of music that Andrew himself had listened to in his youth. However James has a lot of rage issues, and is very much emotionally repressed. The music he listens to is used to communicate his intensity and his tendency to violence. If you were looking for the opportunity to finally see yourself represented on the scene, this isn't it. More often, James comes across as the villain than any kind of anti-hero.
I got a chance to watch the movie at the Toronto premiere, which was attended by producer and original writer Matt Wells (Danny in the film). During the Q&A after the movie, Matt provided a lot of context about how the movie related to his own childhood and upbringing that added a lot of meaning. The movie was inspired by the legacy of inter-generational violence, abuse, and alcoholism in his own family, and how his mom had been the family member that finally broke that cycle (like James in the movie). That's a story well worth telling, especially as a slow-burn crime drama, and Crown and Anchor is just such a movie.