Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Godspeed (2009)

Movie quotes:
"There’s a darkness born of the centuries – born from the pain it takes to live the day…It courses through everybody’s blood – I guess even mine."
- Sarah

At a glance:
The Alaskan wilderness is the setting for this intense, sometimes violent indie thriller about murder, revenge, and how ‘religious’ men use god to further their own agenda

Our review (with spoilers):
A faith healer in Alaska is devastated when his family is murdered. He tucks himself away in the woods and half-lives, still hoping that perhaps someday the case will be solved, but not really doing anything about it. But the event enters back into his life when he is visited by Sarah (Courtney Halverson), the teenage daughter of a sick woman he tried to help.

The original title of Godspeed (Bloody Revenge) more accurately reflects the film’s genre. It is a revenge flick; no doubt about that. However, writer/actors Joseph McKelheer (Charlie) and Cory Knauf (Luke) have shown that they realize that adding layered detail to even the most basic story framework can make for a successful screenplay. While the revenge aspects somewhat overshadow anything else, there is still much thought-provoking interaction. For example, did Charlie’s healing powers stop working because of the presence of Luke in the room? Did that negative energy cancel out his positive energy?

The screenplay, written by Knauf, McKelheer, and director Robert Saitzyk, has moments of beauty. Most of the best contemplative lines are delivered by Sarah. Knauf shows that he has prodigious writing talent – perhaps moreso than his acting talent. Or maybe he just needs to hone the latter. I had the feeling he dragged the movie down a little with the too-slow pacing of his delivery. He needed to vary this occasionally. Still, he does create a character who has evil power, so maybe I’m being too harsh.

 While Knauf and McKelheer show off the writing talents, the acting talents are flashed by Halverson. There is power in a woman’s desire for a man, and perhaps this manifests itself most intensely in a young girl’s first crush. Halverson is tasked with bringing this to the screen. She does so with ease, and she also narrates the beautifully scripted emotions of the film – again with a mix of depth and naivete.

Rating:  2.5 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Saitzyk’s direction has a way of holding a tight grip on its audience."
- Cinevegas

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