The set-up craftily echoes her father’s work, as a pair of FBI agents arrive at a small-town sheriff’s station to investigate a multiple murder. They place the bewildered, hostile witnesses under camera surveillance and talk them through the events of the previous day. The story unfolds in flashback, with our sympathies shifting until it’s no longer clear which characters are worth trusting: the cops are corrupt, the investigators sinister, even the cute little girl’s loving family might have something to hide.
Lynch directs with restrained, unfussy style, her camera picking out the clean lines of both the bare interrogation room interiors and the stark rural landscape outside. The cast is solid, particularly dramatic stalwarts Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman as the investigating agents and producer Kent Harper as a power-crazed deviant deputy. So while the narrative is hardly original – it meanders to a predictable but juicily malicious climactic twist – ‘Surveillance’ is never less than a compelling watch.