A man caught in a web of passion, faith, and a mysterious past he has been running from must decide whether to face the truth or continue to suffer in silence. This is Dwight Wilkins’ suspense drama, Roman.
Roman is a religiously tinged film that follows the titular character (played by Darold Lingo) as he tries to get his life back on track. A man who has regularly played the field, Roman is now in his late 30s and is beginning to grow up. As the film opens, Roman seems to want to change his ways, but he is so trapped in a web of infidelity and deceit that the stresses of his lifestyle are getting too much and beginning to play with his mind.
As Roman’s journey progresses, he becomes haunted both figuratively and literally by a mysterious past that he just can’t seem to escape. He sees figures that aren’t there and hears things that no one else can. Throughout the film, we are shown religious and Christian imagery, with the opening scene hammering this home by taking place in the office of Roman’s local pastor, played by TV and film veteran Brian Anthony Wilson, who gives him some friendly-but-firm advice about doing the right thing.
One of the strengths of Roman is its exploration of the themes of redemption and forgiveness. Roman is a flawed character, but he is ultimately a good man who is trying to do the right thing. He has made many mistakes and continues to do so, but he is willing to learn from them in order to make amends. The film shows that it is never too late to change and that forgiveness is always possible.
The film has some technical flaws with regard to continuity and blocking; some of the scenes don’t make sense visually, as we will see characters in one position and then in the next shot, they are in a completely different one, and we do cross the line with the camera on multiple occasions. However, these flaws are forgivable in such an independent film and, looking beyond them, the film works fine. Dwight Wilkins’ direction manages to create moments that are suspenseful and atmospheric, while his screenplay (based on the book ‘Son of A Covet’ written by George and Cyndie Beacham), keeps the viewer guessing. Because we are never quite sure what is going to happen next, this keeps the film engaging until the very end. The cinematography by Joshua Mallory is a key element of the film. Roman’s dream sequences are shot in a very stylized way using a lot of bold colours and shadows. This creates some visually striking moments that help to create more unease and tension.
Roman is a film that is not without its flaws, but it is one that explores some important themes, including the power of the past and how it can inevitably shape your future. Roman is haunted by his past, but it is this experience that ultimately drives him to make the changes he needs to make. The film shows us that, although our history is a powerful force, it is something that can also be overcome. Roman, with a brisk running time of just 69 minutes, is a film that never outstays its welcome.