Indy Film Fest: Reparation
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A feature film. A Kickstarter campaign. Small-town Indiana locations. Local acting talent used. Over a decade in the making. It would be easy to add up all of these individual characteristics of a movie and come up with the sum of something small. However, in the case of “Reparation,” the only thing small about it is the mindedness of those who dismiss it at face value.
“Reparation” is the story of Bob Stevens (Marc Menchaca) an Air Force officer who has no memory of the past three years. We meet Bob in the hospital as he begins to navigate his new world with the help of a mysterious little boy named Ralph (Brody Behr). The thing is, Bob is the only one who can see him.
Bob is given the green light to leave, but instead of heading to his home state of Indiana as expected, Bob and Ralph land in California, where he meets the strong-willed, free-spirited Lucy (Virginia Newcomb) and their whirlwind courtship begins.
Soon Lucy ends up giving birth to their daughter, Charlotte (Dale Dye Thomas), and the trio heads east to Indiana to continue their lives. Bob’s emotional state strengthens and he establishes himself as a small business owner operating a vegetable stand. Most telling, his small friend is gone — a further testament to Bob’s emotional strength.
Bob’s life is turned upside down when a stranger rides into his life. Jerome (Jon Huertas), a friend and fellow Airman, shows up and tries to connect with his former friend, but Bob’s memory won’t allow it. Jerome is a man on a mission to find answers only Bob can provide, and Bob is a man just trying to find his way back to himself.
Equally as mysterious as Jerome’s arrival is when Charlotte begins drawing her nightmares, which are in fact memories from her father’s missing years. The drawings start prompting Bob’s memory, and the picture it paints is one Bob can’t quite put together. One thing is for certain: Jerome is a major player in the event that led to Bob’s mental break.
“Reparation” is a tight thriller that does a wonderful job of leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that shows us the way, but doesn’t make the path too clearly. We, along with Bob, do our best to take the intricate puzzle pieces writer/director Kyle Ham and fellow screenwriter Steve Timm give us and try to understand the big picture.
The cast is led by powerful performances from Huertas and Menchaca in the lead roles. Huertas, known mostly for his likable roles in his previous work, is menacing as Jerome and is my favorite character in the movie.
Creating equally impressive characters are Thomas as Charlotte and Behr as Ralph. The two young actors are captivating in their roles, and it will be nice to see where their futures take them.
“Reparation” is Ham’s feature directorial debut, and he doesn’t disappoint. Working from a script he co-wrote with Timm, he weaves a riveting thriller that twists and turns and gives you just enough information to keep you on the edge of your seat. Ham’s editing skill is on full display and only adds to its tautness. The film also features a great “Oh crap!” moment and when it hits, it hits hard.
The film was shot entirely in Putnam County in central Indiana and utilized local acting talents as well as locations. The small-town aspect only lends to the film’s sense of intimacy.
“Reparation” is a superb thriller that leaves you breathless as you race to find the reality of its main character’s forgotten past and the true intentions of the film’s menacing antagonist.