Writer/Director and star Miles Doleac’s The Hollow is a southern crime noir that may not get everything right but it gets most of it.

When a small Mississippi town with an emphasis on taking care of their own is playground to a murder of an US congressman daughter, her boyfriend and a local high school girl with a dark side; an unwelcome light is shown on its dirt laundry. Everyone is put on notice when two FBI agents show up to investigate. At the center of their investigation is a corrupt police squad, a fetish loving principle, and south gentlemen who strikes fear in everyone.

Along with Doleac (Magnificent Seven), The Hollow features a murders row of character actors: William Sadler, William Forsythe, James Callis, David Warshofsky and Jeff Farley. Boardwalk Empire’s Christiane Seidel also turns in a solid performance as Callis’ Agent Vaughan Killinger’s partner Sarah Desoto. Killinger’s and Desoto’s relationship is professional, and her steadiness keeps Killinger from despair.

Callis’turn as agent Killinger is one of best of his career. Honestly, I was more familiar with his humorous work and was surprised with the range. While Callis is excellent this is Doleac’s film and he owns it.

Doleac,playing drug pedaling deputy Ray Everett, whose connection to the local dead girl puts his delicate world at risk. The balance act of providing for his family, covering his tracks, and not getting killed himself pushes him to desperation. It’s a great complex character and Doleac is so natural in his portrayal.

While The Hollow’s acting is top-notch (Fosythe and Sadler are excellent also) the overall plot doesn’t break new ground. We seen multiple takes on cops on the wrong side of the law, shadow figures and loose cannon FBI agents. Also the first two acts are much stronger than the final one.

With lesser actors The Hollow could be easily written off. So Big kudos to Doleac in his direction for strong casting and letting the actors run with their characters. For only his second directing outing, Doleac impresses.

Despite some weaknesses, The Hollow is an indie surprise with Coen Brother like mood and strong performances.

Out on VOD & DVD now.