Indie Film Review “Recovery”



First, the Recap:

Justification. We utilize this notion to take actions, potentially questionable ones more often than not, that make us feel better, that obtain for us a sense of wellness and peace gained from said measures. But, is it not also true that some might take these steps to extremes, to places that won’t actually bring any semblance of serenity, but rather further guilt? It is a normal evening of partying hard for a young man named Philip (Adam Cryne). Hanging with his best friend Anthony (Geraden Borthwick), it’s all copious amounts of alcohol mostly, though Philip manages to strike up a conversation, subsequent attraction included, with a girl named Shelley (Bryony Miller). However, the evening suddenly becomes a blur.

It is nothing less than startling as Philip finds himself coming back to consciousness only to discover he’s lying on a cold, hard basement floor–and chained to a radiator. Unable to make sense of any of it, Philip finds he’s not alone either.  Another man named Richard (Kyle Josef Harvey) is tied up as well on the opposite wall. Trying to ascertain their predicament, Richard’s warnings to stay quiet go unheeded until their captor Wayne (A.J. Salisbury), an evangelical preacher with a severe grudge, comes downstairs. As events spiral out of control and Philip begins to recognize his fate could very well be at hand, it becomes a desperate bid for survival while trying to understand a mind gone mad.

Next, my Mind:

The British writing/directing/producing team made up of Marcus Scott and Heath Hetherington bring about a dark, straightforward dramatic thriller with their 71-minute indie feature film effort that plays upon the concept of one man’s madness and desire for what he feels is justifiable retribution against those who succumb to drunken revelry, all based on a jaded past of his own and a heart wrenching loss. For all the intentionality to create an atmosphere of fear encountered by the captive Philip as imposed upon him by what is to be the sheer intimidation factor elicited by Wayne, both in physical stature and an unhinged mindset, this reviewer wasn’t captured by it all as much as would be expected. The overall sense of ominousness is present in the narrative, yet it sometimes felt a bit forced and borderline cliché in its execution. You truly want the viewer to experience the intended terror as events unfold, but I just didn’t quite engage to that level here, unfortunately.

Additionally, it was also a tad hard at times to really believe the characters, not because of poor acting or anything like that, but more as they kind of seemed too much like the prototypical archetypes seen in this style of film. Cryne  still does a good job as Philip, a young man given to a young man’s proclivities and perhaps partying just a bit too hard for his own good, which is what lands him in the mess he ends up in. Acutely aware of his potential fate, he tried to not just escape but find some semblance of understanding about his wayward captor.  This is well enacted by Cryne. Salisbury ultimately shines the brightest as Philip’s detainer Wayne, a man battling his own inner demons while professing his still-shaken faith in God, using that truth to make his actions viable, even though they are completely off the chain. His simmering menace and calm yet boiling under the surface demeanor does work well here, but then again, the character as a whole is something we’ve seen before, and so it slightly dampens an otherwise clean and solid performance.

A plethora of supporting turns are present here via Borthwick as Philips partying friend Anthony, Miller as Shelley, the girl Philip falls for at said party, Harvey as well as Stuart Ankers playing Richard and Stuart, fellow victims of Wayne’s insanity and basement-based incarceration, Vicki Glover as Wayne’s wife, and Jack Lee as a younger Wayne in flashbacks.  In total, “Recovery” can be considered a good, but not as great as it could have been, indie feature effort that still stands as an illustration of the commitment, determination, and ongoing forward movement that new and aspiring filmmakers strive for. As mentioned in another recent review, that drive and desire is admirable in itself, and what makes indie cinema the hidden gem it is.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!


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