Sophomore writer/director Josh Sternfeld’s crime drama plays like a murder mystery in reverse, since it opens showing us exactly who commits the murder that rocks a small town, whose “white trash” populace then demands justice. Halo-worthy detective Noah Cordin (Nick Stahl) attempts to do that; he has his hunches, but the difficult part is gathering enough evidence to force the culprits into a confession. In the process, a cover-up takes place to try to throw him off-track. How dumb do they think he is? And what’s with that extended town hall meeting scene?

If you don’t like seeing kids in peril, skip “Meskada,” because it opens with the killing of a grade schooler. If, however, you’re curious to see Meryl Streep’s daughter in a sex scene, Norman Reedus continuing his “Walking Dead” vicious hick act, or “Twilight” second banana Kellan Lutz shirtless, you’re in luck.

In all seriousness, the film is diverting, even if only mildly, and generally well-acted. Its bleakness may put off many; I was more troubled by the underuse of Rachel Nichols. But, hey, that’s just my hormones talking. —Rod Lott


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