Product IV

film 4 of 4

Redemption: For Robbing the Dead

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 17, 2015

This is a good, which is to say a decent film. Its quietness, its stateliness, its basic modesty set it apart very strongly, and give it a sensibility that corresponds with and is worthy of its subject. Beyond the particularities and complications of the plot, that subject can be reduced to the most basic levels: a people in a place, a religious group in the midst of elemental imperatives, Mormons engaged in the back and heart-breaking work of trying to make this intractable desert blossom as the prophetical rose. In this context clarities and certainties butt up against sorrows and complexities. What does one do? Writer/director Tom Russell—who, I am happy to admit, is a very good friend of mine—communicates the options very aptly. You can harden into an intractable orthodoxy (and should we really blame people for it?), or you can submit to the operations of mercy.

Could it be that this film’s quietness, stateliness and basic modesty also make it unmarketable? And the star doesn’t quite carry it, and he needed to. If only Richard Farnsworth had been available! When he was way younger! You can’t account for commerce, but as far as the film itself goes, some of those secondary and tertiary performance positively shine. So does the cinematography, which is appropriately expansive for a film shot for and about the West. A few bumps, then, but in the end all involved are, as RL Stevenson so powerfully prayed, forgiving and forgiven, for Christ’s sake.