Magazine article Screen International

The Red Robin

Magazine article Screen International

The Red Robin

Article excerpt

Dir: Michael Z Wechsler. US. 2013. 92mins

A dark and moody psychological thriller, there is a chilly and rather desolate tension to Michael Z Wechsler's The Red Robin, a film driven by a jagged sense of atmosphere and a series of grim but impressive central performances.

The Red Robin is a film that keeps its secrets nicely close to its chest until the increasingly heightened last half hour.

The film, which had its world premiere at the Montreal Film Festival, could well intrigue buyers given its well sustained sense of drama, and while lacking a grippingly sharp edge - it heads into strange and violent territory but is never overly comfortable there - it is always intriguing and defiantly left-field.

The film opens in familiar dramatic style. The increasingly ill 75 year-old Dr Nathanial Shellner (Judd Hirsch), who was presented a Nobel prize for his work with traumatised patients fleeing war zones, is at his happiest surrounded by wife Lillian (Caroline Lagerfelt), son Leonard (Joseph Lyle Taylor), and the five children from around the world that they adopted - Tommy (Ryan O'Nan), Julie (Jaime Ray Newman), Harry (C.S. Lee) and young twins Sylvia and Sasha.

On the surface all seems well at the wintery suburban New Jersey house, but the arrival of troubled Tommy (a horror novelist) sets events in motion that takes the family into dark territory. He accuses his father of adopting the children so that he could conduct mind control experiments, comparing him to Josef a person who also loved his patients. …

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