Friday, June 28, 2013

Redemption - All roads don't lead to salvation.

I just watched a first run movie called "Redemption."  It has nothing to do with zombies, or sci-fi, or high octane special effects.  So it's a bit different than my usual movie fare. 

"Redemption" is a British film, starring Jason Statham and Polish actress Agata Buzek. Statham plays Joey Jones, a special forces team member for the British army in Afghanistan.  In the beginning of the film, his team is ambushed, and are all killed except him.  He goes on a killing spree to exact retribution.  When it is over, he goes AWOL and makes his way back to London.

He is suffering from PTSD with nightmares of the attack and his mates all dying.  He sees swarms of hummingbirds flying around, which represent the ever-present drones above the battlefield.  Eventually, he is found living on the street, frequently drunk and the target of criminals who prey on the homeless.  He has one friend, a girl named Isobel.

One night they are attacked with some other homeless people.  He stays and gets beaten badly so that Isobel can flee the scene. He fights back and manages to get away.  He finds his way to a penthouse and makes himself at home.  He cleans up, sobers up, lies to the neighbors when he finds the man who lives in the penthouse is gone for several months.

He goes to a mission where the homeless can get a hot evening meal.  The nun who runs the soup kitchen knows him.  He asks her for medicine which she finally gives him when convinced he cannot go to a hospital due to his AWOL status.

The rest of the film which I won't spoil for you, is about him getting sober and finding work.  The job he takes is as an enforcer for a Chinese mob boss.  He does some awful things but makes loads of money which he shares with the mission and others, all the while, having flashbacks to the ambush in Afghanistan.  He becomes again the formidable man he once was, despite the PTSD.

His relationship with Sister Christina grows.  He learns her own story of abuse and redemption.  They become a bit too close.

In the end, he does one final act of revenge for the death of a friend.  Sister Christina heads to a mission in Africa to live out her life there ministering to the starving populace. 

After helping others with the money he made, Joey disappears once again in the drunken world of the homeless.  It ends with the London police tracking him on their security cameras.  He's wanted for murder.

This description of the film sounds dour.  But it in reality it is a poetic drama about two damaged people who come together and find a moment's happiness until they part to continue their penance.

Beautifully acted and directed, this is an affecting film for adults.  Originally entitled Hummingbird, there are no big budget special effects, or fantasy, no suspension of belief needed.  The damp streets of London serve as a perfect background for the drama.  There are some lovely moments but even those are evocative of sadness.

It isn't for everybody or every mood.  But on this evening, it's perfect for my mood.  Bravo, Mr. Statham for a job well done.

Until next time, with more movie reviews (yes, there'll be zombies, and an endangered White House reviewed in the next week or so...) take care.  Escape the heat and keep cool.  Go to a movie.

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