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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WEST OF REDEMPTION -- DVD Review by Porfle

If you're a Billy Zane fan as I am, you should be pleased as punch to see him back in fine form in such a first-rate, emotionally-intense suspense thriller as WEST OF REDEMPTION (Indican Pictures, 2015).

Billy (THE HESSEN CONSPIRACY, ZOMBIE KILLERS: ELEPHANT'S GRAVEYARD, SCORNED, BORDER RUN, BLUE SEDUCTION, GHOST OF GOODNIGHT LANE, BLUE WORLD ORDER) plays Hank Keller, a simple country boy living on a secluded farm with his wife Becky (Mariana Klaveno, "Dexter"), who works as a waitress.

All is serene until one stormy night when a disheveled young man (Kevin Alejandro, PURGATORY FLATS, "Lucifer") comes to the door asking to use the phone to call a tow truck.  Hank complies, but when he hears the man identify himself as "Rick Youngblood", he knocks him unconscious and ties him up in a shed.

Why Hank does this is a mystery that grips us and doesn't let up as the man is kept prisoner and interrogated while his presence is hidden from the unsuspecting Becky. 

Before long we realize that she's the focus of the whole thing, but the reason for this is just one of the plot twists that you don't want to know about before delving into this deeply involving and ultimately tragic tale.

Meagan Daine's screenplay is a sizzling slowburn that has us guessing from start to finish.  What appears at first to be shaping up as a potentially violent horror thriller turns out to be much richer and more emotionally resonant, turning down unexpected paths and exploring aspects of these characters and their motives that are continuously illuminating.

Director Cornelia Duryée has taken this sharply-written script and given it an exquisitely well-rendered visual interpretation that always strikes just the right note.  Camerawork is fine but never interferes with the story, while all other technical aspects are also well done.

Zane gives one of his best and most involved performances in years, while Alejandro and Klaveno also fully and convincingly inhabit their characters. As the plot teasingly unfolds, we wonder which of the two men is the good guy and which is the bad, if indeed things are that simple.

When a series of flashbacks involving Becky begin to reveal secrets previously hidden from us, things take on a whole different dimension.  I'm not going to  reveal a single one of them, and I'd also advise you not to watch the too-revealing trailer beforehand.

WEST OF REDEMPTION doesn't resort to violence or shocks to hold our attention, and when the final twist falls into place, we discover what a beautifully told tragedy it really is.

Runtime: 89 mins
Format: 16:9 HD
Sound: Dolby Stereo
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Thriller / Drama
Bonus: Director's Commentary


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