(director/writer: Christopher Rucinski; cinematographer: Grzegorz Gill; editors: Christopher Rucinski/Derek Dr0uin; music: Robert Lydecker; cast: Jesse Gavin (Justin McLaughlin), Joseph Poliquin (Charlie McLaughlin), Titiana Galliher (Frankie Rosa), Alejandro Bravo (Noel Acosta), Romano Orzari (Billy), Rose Marie Guess (Michelle); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Christopher Rucinski; BayView Entertainment; 2023)
“The last twenty minutes cover up most of its prior awkward moments.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
It’s the feature film debut of writer/director Christopher Rucinski.
It opens with a truck on fire. The truck’s owner is the younger brother of the Army Afghan combat infantryman Justin McLaughlin (Jesse Gavin), who is home from the war, living in upstate NY, on an old fishing trawler. A former cop, Frankie Rosa (Titiana Galliher), tells Justin the truck is his brother’s.
Justin has become an alcoholic after he witnessed the death of a best friend soldier in his outfit, Noel (Alejandro Bravo), and now envisions Noel as a ghost he talks to while trying to make sense of things.
Justin decides to find his estranged missing younger brother, Charlie (Joseph Poliquin), after told by the locals his brother is in northern Connecticut, in a wooded area known as the Quiet Corner.
Once there, Justin learns his little brother is on a bad trip, as he’s joined a violent extremist militia (think Proud Boys), whose leader, Billy (Romano Orzari), is a conspiracy believing nut job. Big brother vows to rescue Charlie, using his combat experience, even if it means he might die in the woods trying to save his indoctrinated brother from going on a dangerous mission with the militants.
The last twenty minutes cover up most of its prior awkward moments.
It played at the Phoenix Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 3/2/2023 GRADE: B-