Aaron Paul makes a successful move from TV’s Breaking Bad to cinema with writer-director Kat Candler’s powerful portrait of a family on the brink of dissolution…
Written and directed by Kat Candler, Retribution paints the powerful portrait of a family on the brink of dissolution set against the haunting backdrop of the refineries of Southeast Texas. Obsessed with heavy metal, dirt bike racing and partaking in the occasional act of vandalism with his band of delinquents, the behaviour of 13-year-old Jacob Wilson has begun to raise concerns around town, especially when it starts to involve his younger brother Wes. While the boys’ father Hollis loves his sons, he is still reeling from the loss of their mother, spending more time drowning his sorrows at the local bar and working on his damaged beach house than being an active parent.
It’s clear that this is closer to films like Stand By Me, Mud, The Kings of Summer or the recent Boyhood, all of which depicted unsupervised male adolescents attempting to navigate adult situations. Yet even though it’s nowhere near as good as any of them, and despite all of its wandering, loosely tied together stories and uneven pacing, there’s an odd sweetness to the drama. Rather than broken characters focused solely on self-help and improving their own station, it’s an attempt to salvage a family even though that family may be too damaged to repair. Characters who do bad things but are good deep down is undoubtedly saccharine, but it works thanks to Candler’s sincere direction and earnest performances from the lead actors.
Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul gives a very nuanced performance as the troubled and tormented father, but it’s rising star Josh Wiggins who’s the main performer here, and he shines throughout the entirety of the film. Wiggins gives us a real and raw depiction of a teenager going through dark and troubled times, and here’s hoping he has a successful future ahead of him.
Aside from the two lead performances, it is primarily the poignant observation of sibling love and enduring bonds between even the most damaged fathers and sons that the movie has going for it, despite its flaws. Overall, not perfect, but admirably executed.
Written by Ryan Pollard
Directed by: Kat Candler
Written by: Kat Candler
Starring: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins
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The Rover is released on DVD & Blu-ray January 12th