Austin Film Festival Review: Reparation


Director:Kyle Ham

Cast:Marc Menchaca, Jon Huertas, Virginia Newcomb

Running Time:104 Minutes


Utilizing flashbacks to fill in the holes as well as painful foreshadowing that leaves nothing to chance, Kyle Ham's Reparation proves that the devil truly does lie within the details.

A small-town farmer with a three-year hole in his memory, Bob Stevens has come to terms with his situation and is living peacefully with his wife and eight-year-old daughter Charlotte.  But their peaceful existence is about to be shaken up when Jerome, a man claiming to be Bob's best friend from the Air Force Police, shows up.

The story, at its core, doesn't offer up much in the form of originality.  Ham works hard to drop clues along the way so that we, as viewers, can piece together the events leading up to Stevens' accident.  But the subtle hints are far too obvious, and the ultimate reveal is easily thwarted as a result.

Additionally, Ham doesn't respect Stevens as a character.  Having just gone through a rather intense memory loss, you can expect our protagonist to be a bit uneasy and confused, especially right after he is reintroduced into the world.  But when we witness his demeanor during his military days it is hard to ignore the radical transformation that he has gone through.

Absent is the confident, authoritative figure that moved up the military ladder at lightening pace; in its place stands a sluggish, lax and somewhat fragile man who seems to not fully understand himself or those around him.  The two are miles apart, not mention to brain damage, buying them as a single character is a far stretch and brings an unfortunate question of authenticity to the overall film.

Granted Ham didn't get much help from his cast.  Marc Menchaca, who portrays Stevens, does fine in the role; however, he is hardly strong enough to hold the entire film on his shoulders.  Lackluster supporting work from both Jon Huertas and Virginia Newcomb (as Jerome and Stevens' wife Lucy respectively) prevents the story from lifting off the page, keeping it one-dimensional and a bit stagnate.

That isn't to say that their roles, when looked at individually, aren't decent.  But the chemistry just isn't there.  Combine that with some unfortunate dialogue and a conclusion that couldn't come soon enough, and Reparation isn't as good as it could (and should) have been.  Blame the execution or its individual parts"¦but it just doesn't cut it.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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