Forest Whitaker is one of the greatest actors out there today and continues to dominate both in front and behind the camera across all genres. For all his films over the years he hasn’t taken on too many thriller roles where he is the twisted one. When the trailer for his latest Repentance debuted showcasing the great cast including Anthony Mackie, Mike Epps, Peter Weller alongside Whitaker taking on the seemingly crazed role it immediately set the bar for a new side to Whitaker not normally seen, but does it pack the punch and have the story to back it up?
Repentance follows an earnest life-coach/author who is mysteriously abducted by a deranged client, who delves into his teachings and uses his spiritual messages of Karma - action and reaction against him to terrorize him and his family for their past sins. This is one those films that kicks things off at the beginning with a quick and easy set up to let you know of the major issue that affected the leads life and set him on the path he is now on and then moves forward without cluttering up the story. As it moves forward it keeps things moving pretty well allowing it to build the relationship between Mackie and Whitaker despite not quite knowing where it is headed with them. Once you sort of get involved with their situation things quickly shotgun into a tense and insane direction and makes for some great terrifying moments. This isn’t scary from the standpoint of the viewer being scared, but instead just watching the characters on screen being tortured and tormented in cringing ways. This film never fully goes too far over the top, but it does continue to step it up at every turn making for an even more intriguing concept.
About 95% of the film delivers what you expect and works great, but depending on your view the ending falls a bit short. The direction they went worked fine, but it didn’t feel like they allowed it to really organically unfold and just kind of felt rushed making it feel like something was missing. Despite this shortcoming it does work as a whole and if nothing else it is worth watching Whitaker let loose and do his thing.