Pic holds Ronald E. Hewett, possessor of the titular post in rural Brunswick County, North Carolina, up to verite scrutiny. Equal parts colorful character study and real-world procedural, docu by Daniel Kraus retains interest throughout, even if it delivers just partial insight into the man, job and milieu. A good bet for fests and tube slots.

“Sheriff” holds Ronald E. Hewett, possessor of the titular post in rural Brunswick County, North Carolina, up to verite scrutiny. Equal parts colorful character study and real-world procedural, docu by Daniel Kraus retains interest throughout, even if it delivers just partial insight into the man, job and milieu. It’s a good bet for fests and appropriate tube slots.

Popular if not universally liked (unfortunately, a sense of the community’s feelings about Hewett is lacking), locally born Hewett was elected to head a ridiculously backward department — the sheriff’s office wasn’t even open after 5 p.m. He’s greatly changed that and upped his public profile by courting local media attention. Pic shows him dealing with diverse situations: raiding an illegal gambling operation; recovering a stolen big-rig full of ceramic knickknack molds; investigating an elderly attorney’s shooting death; and addressing junior high students (latter prospect provokes a rare instance of nervousness). Subject is at once a good-old-boy, savvy politico and dedicated community servant. Nicely handled pic was shot sporadically over 3½-years’ course, so there’s a certain fuzziness in regard to time and to how accurately the docu reflects a typical mix on Hewett’s professional plate.

Sheriff

Production

A Go Pictures production. Produced by Daniel Kraus, Jason Davis. Executive producer, John A. Davis III. Directed, edited by Daniel Kraus.

Crew

Camera (color, mini-DV), Kraus. Reviewed at Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose, Calif., March 14, 2004. Running time: 76 MIN.
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