Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Brief Reunion

Solid performances buoy a contrived suspense tale.

Jan 16, 2013

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1370358-Brief_Reunion_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Facebook is a villain's best friend in Brief Reunion, a lukewarm buried-secrets thriller that starts with inappropriate friending, progresses to unwelcome photo tagging, and pretty soon finds somebody burying a body in the woods. John Daschbach's debut has a hard time braiding plotlines into a tight noose for its endangered protagonist (and is crippled by an amateurish opening credits sequence unrepresentative of the film's overall craftsmanship). Solid performances keep it watchable, but commercial prospects are meager.

Joel de la Fuente stars as Aaron, an entrepreneur living a comfortable life somewhere in wooded New England. (Despite offering some lovely scenery, the movie has no feel for the actual community Aaron and his wife Lea inhabit.) The sudden arrival of onetime friend Teddy (Scott Shepherd) seems at first a mere social dilemma: Teddy, a mooch back in college, is much too eager to insinuate himself into the couple's dinner plans and social-media networks. But when Teddy's conversation keeps turning to subjects Aaron doesn't want raised, it becomes clear he has some kind of extortion on his mind.

Shepherd (whose transfixing performance in the eight-hour stage production Gatz makes the idea of Baz Luhrmann's glitzy Great Gatsby sound dull) fills the role of unwanted buddy nicely, seeming almost sincere in his desire for friendship despite his tactics. But Daschbach's script can't quite decide which threat it wants us to worry about—the exposure of possibly shady business dealings, or that of an old girlfriend Aaron has kept secret from his wife—and de la Fuente's mostly calm response to Teddy's revelations reflects the filmmaker's indecision.

Things do eventually go bad, with Aaron getting himself into some unambiguous trouble, but the film's failure to raise the temperature gradually leaves viewers less involved than we should be. Absent a noir-ish percolation, the character's desperate decisions feel hollow.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: Brief Reunion

Solid performances buoy a contrived suspense tale.

Jan 16, 2013

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1370358-Brief_Reunion_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Facebook is a villain's best friend in Brief Reunion, a lukewarm buried-secrets thriller that starts with inappropriate friending, progresses to unwelcome photo tagging, and pretty soon finds somebody burying a body in the woods. John Daschbach's debut has a hard time braiding plotlines into a tight noose for its endangered protagonist (and is crippled by an amateurish opening credits sequence unrepresentative of the film's overall craftsmanship). Solid performances keep it watchable, but commercial prospects are meager.

Joel de la Fuente stars as Aaron, an entrepreneur living a comfortable life somewhere in wooded New England. (Despite offering some lovely scenery, the movie has no feel for the actual community Aaron and his wife Lea inhabit.) The sudden arrival of onetime friend Teddy (Scott Shepherd) seems at first a mere social dilemma: Teddy, a mooch back in college, is much too eager to insinuate himself into the couple's dinner plans and social-media networks. But when Teddy's conversation keeps turning to subjects Aaron doesn't want raised, it becomes clear he has some kind of extortion on his mind.

Shepherd (whose transfixing performance in the eight-hour stage production Gatz makes the idea of Baz Luhrmann's glitzy Great Gatsby sound dull) fills the role of unwanted buddy nicely, seeming almost sincere in his desire for friendship despite his tactics. But Daschbach's script can't quite decide which threat it wants us to worry about—the exposure of possibly shady business dealings, or that of an old girlfriend Aaron has kept secret from his wife—and de la Fuente's mostly calm response to Teddy's revelations reflects the filmmaker's indecision.

Things do eventually go bad, with Aaron getting himself into some unambiguous trouble, but the film's failure to raise the temperature gradually leaves viewers less involved than we should be. Absent a noir-ish percolation, the character's desperate decisions feel hollow.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Calvary
Film Review: Calvary

An invidious, enervating piece of work blessedly relieved by Brendan Gleeson’s empathetic portrayal of a worldly priest confronting the sins of the world. More »

Rich Hill
Film Review: Rich Hill

This study of teens trying to make it in a very depressed and depressing heartland would have benefited from more hard info and less pictorial meandering. More »

Child of God
Film Review: Child of God

Depravity abounds in this James Franco-directed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, which despite a committed performance by Scott Haze proves a one-note endurance test. More »

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero
Film Review: Cabin Fever: Patient Zero

A return to the stripped–down ferocity of Eli Roth's no-frills 2002 shocker, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (which the title suggests is a prequel, though it doesn't really feel like one) lacks originality but delivers the body-horror goods far better than genre minimalist Ti West's Cabin Fever 2: Spring Break (2009), a broadly campy spin on ’70s high-school horror clichés. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Get On Up
Film Review: Get On Up

Chadwick Boseman is sensational in this multi-faceted portrait of troubled, pioneering soul-music giant James Brown. More »

Guardians of the Galaxy review
Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

With Marvel’s backing, cult filmmaker James Gunn blasts off for the stars and takes audiences along for a wild, funny ride. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here