Old friends attempt to reunite with a former school friend in order to offer him support following the accidental death of his wife in Sean Cranston’s feature film Redville.
After graduating high school, a group of friends hang out at a backyard party, drinking beers and eating numerous pizzas. Then Tony, being stand-offish with his girlfriend, starts flirting with another female. His girlfriend is obviously upset and kisses one of Tony’s friends, which then results in a small fight, and Tony declaring he doesn’t want to see his “so-called-friends” ever again.
We then fast-forward many years to find that Tony is now a successful author and happily married. His wife, on her way back home and driving through treacherous snowfall, accidentally crashes her car and loses her life. Obviously, Tony finds it hard to cope with the loss of his wife, turning to the bottle almost instantly in a smart bedroom scene that shows his struggle and isolation with some clever use of editing, where jump cuts in movement portray the passing of time.
After hearing the news regarding Tony’s wife, his former school friends, including Julian Johnson who, through the use of PSAs, we realise is now a successful local politician up for re-election, decide to make their way back home to support their former old buddy.
This is where the movie takes an abrupt turn and turns from a drama (with splashes of comedy, especially in the opening scene), to an all-out thriller with a twisty and somewhat cliffhanger ending.
Whist Redville was likely shot on a minuscule budget, Sean Cranston should give himself a clap on the back for completing an enjoyable one hour and fifteen-minute feature. Redville has a lot of positives going for it with an interesting premise, some nice cinematic locations (especially the snowy sections), and a strong performance from its lead Paul Sacchetti as Tony, who does show a range of emotions throughout. The music score that accompanies the film is quite surreal in parts; at one point we can hear soft melodies, but then it jumps to the next scene and our ears are blasted with a heavy goth rock. I didn’t mind the music choice, it certainly stands out.
That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have its problems, there are plenty of those too. In some scenes, it sounds like the audio was recorded with the camera’s built-in mic, whilst others scenes sound more professional. There is even a moment where Tony walks into his home, banging into the camera and tripod in the process. It is a shame that moments like these are kept in the finished cut, as simply doing another take would have helped, and it’s not as if time constraints would have played a part, as the shot literally lasts seconds. The whole movie is shot quite like a documentary, with little use of lighting for the most part, but at times this adds to the charm of Redville.
If you are looking for an American independent thriller with more things going for it than not, then Redville could be the movie for you. Yes, it could have had its issues corrected with a little more TLC, but it’s not a bad effort at all.