Nicole Rosario
Chris Nashawaty
March 25, 2015 AT 10:14 PM EDT

Man From Reno

Current Status
In Season
111 minutes
Ayako Fujitani, Pepe Serna, Kazuki Kitamura
Dave Boyle
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an B

A grizzled sheriff hits a sharply dressed Asian man with his patrol car on a foggy night in the middle of nowhere. A writer of Japanese crime novels ditches her book tour to hide out in a San Francisco hotel. How will the two stories intersect? Could it have something to do with exotic turtles? These are just two of the many riddles tossed into the audience’s lap during Dave Boyle’s slow-burn neo-noir Man From Reno. Loaded with odd red herrings (a head of lettuce, those aforementioned turtles), Boyle’s mystery is both maddening in how much it withholds from the viewer trying to play along, and impressive for how little you end up caring about being kept in the dark. None of it would work without the two leads: As the author on the run, Ayako Fujitani conjures a rare mix of demureness and daring. And as the sleuthing lawman, Pepe Serna uses his cement-mixer voice and boxer’s mug to convey a real bloodhound determination. Together they hook you in enough that you’ll stick around to find out what any of this has to do with Nevada. B

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