Martin, an author suffering from writer’s block, is also finding it hard to cope after the death of his wife and son. Yet things change after meeting a grieving woman at a help group in the independent feature Convergence.
For his second film writer-director Steve Johnson has managed to create a huge tapestry of intertwined themes in the 90 minutes of ‘Convergence’. Grief, alcoholism, addiction, mental health, loneliness, and physical abuse all play a part and together they add up to make a stylish and powerful drama. Having lost his small family to a car crash Martin played with restrained anger by Jeremy Theobald (whom you may recognise from Christopher Nolan’s debut feature Following) has collapsed downwards into a spiral of self-pity and alcoholism. Martin is a successful author and this spiral presents us with the first major piece of the puzzle because Martin being an alcoholic is key to the character and also key to the movie.
The driver who caused the accident remains unknown and understandably this leaves a huge gap in Martins grief, however, Martin’s pain and the current unhinged state of his life cannot be explained simply by the loss of his family. In a crucial early scene Martin meets his wife’s sister who shows him some intriguing new evidence with regards to the people involved with the accident and we learn that Martin regularly went away, often leaving his wife alone and that on the day of the accident his wife was desperately trying to tell both her husband and her sister something important?
Also at the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Lily, Nicolette McKeown a young pregnant woman trapped in a violent and abusive relationship with her boyfriend an all too frighteningly real Lee Fanning. After one too many attacks Lily loses her baby and finally gathers the strength to run for her. Finding a card for bereavement counseling sessions that Martin also attends we understand that Lily and Martin will somehow find each other and their lives will undoubtedly intertwine.
Throughout the film’s runtime, the story is interspersed with scenes of an old man and a chess board. The board represents our characters lives and the pieces represent the characters themselves. Like some sort of puppet master, he moves the pieces on the board in order to change the course and direction of our characters journeys. These scenes are interesting but also jarring as they sometimes come across as simply a writing device to push the audiences thought processes in the direction the filmmaker wants them to go.
Part drama, part noir mystery ‘Convergence’ is an entertaining mix of genres that deserves to be seen by a large audience. With him both writing and directing this feature, Steve Johnson shows himself to be a very capable and genuine director. What is good about the film is very good but there are too many side trips in both the plot and emotions for the film to draw us in full and while the ending may strike people as a tad contrived and stagy I think it is perhaps a lot closer to real life than a neater more cinematic one. That said I would highly recommend you go to see Convergence if you can.