By Joe McGovern
October 24, 2016 at 07:12 PM EDT

In Burn Country, a mystery develops in a small northern California town where an Afghan journalist gets a job working for a newspaper and becomes dangerously embroiled in a murder investigation. Oscar winner Melissa Leo, in another of her great world-weary roles, stars as a local cop and James Franco appears as a sketchy, long-haired screwup with a possible motive for killing the victim.

But the movie is carried, as you can tell from the exclusive trailer above, but the wonderful Iranian-British-American actor Dominic Rains (one of the stars of Ana Lily Amirpour’s great vampire thriller A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), who plays the lead character — and was awarded the Best Actor award at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival for his performance.

Burn Country (formerly titled The Fixer), directed by documentarian Ian Olds, opens in theaters on Dec. 9. Check out the film’s poster below.