New Orlean’s hypnotizing and striking landscapes, distinct landmarks and deep, dark swampy secrets set the mood for the psychological thriller, “Repentance.”
In spite of the solid, heavyweight cast: Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, Mike Epps, Sanaa Lathan, and Nicole Ari Parker, the film was not heavily promoted, therefore I was happy to catch it on the last day at the theaters. And boy was it a treat! I recommend you check it out on Netflix. It’s perfect for a Friday, full-mooned night.
The film opens with two young and dumb drunks, brothers, Tommy and Ben Carter, portrayed by Mackie and funny man, Epps, who are injured in a careless car accident. Their near-death experience and the death of a pedestrian changes the course of many lives, forever.
The film travels forward to brighter days that will soon be eclipsed by secrets from the past. Now a successful writer and credentialed life coach, Mackie, seems to have all the answers. Tommy’s tranquil and reassuring yoga-instructor wife, played by Lathan, is a true fan of her hubby, as she jokes about him being a “literary rockstar." But not everyone is thrilled with the protagonist/antagonist, Tommy. His childish brother, Ben, poses as a threat to the family when he comes home from county with a bounty over his head. The couple still maintains some sacred moments in spite of Ben’s invasion, but their bliss is interrupted in an unthinkable way.
Whitaker is quite the chameleon in this film as he gives an utterly creepy performance as the fanatical Angel. At a book signing, Angel arrives with a heavily annotated copy of Tommy's novel and approaches him with impulsive requests. Suffering major losses in his life: his mother was killed, his wife, portrayed by Ari Parker, left him and his daughter, played by the adorable, Ariana Neal, could be next, it’s evident that Angel operates in an "ain't no sunshine when she's gone," gloomy and murky place.
This movie gives male bonding a new name when Tommy is pressed for money by his brother, and feels obligated to take an odd job: casting out Angel’s demons. With conflicting rituals, Tommy tries to reason with the unreasonable, but Angel is still haunted by his mother’s mysterious murder. He seems to want something else. The relationship shifts, and takes a very savage turn. At the hands of Angel, a trail of suffering, torture and revenge takes place…in a basement. It reminds me of Stephen King’s monster in “Mercy.” All the while…here’s the killing part, Angel’s daughter is in his custody. Can you say CPS????
In the beginning, it seems to be a new-aged Cain and Abel: good and evil battle, but as the film progresses, it veers in a different direction, examining the conflict between lies and truth and how both can drive you straight to evil.
Angel was on a quest for the truth. Mackie was a “vault” of secrets. In this film, secrets can protect lies, but with damaging effects. After the downward spiral continues, a semi-bright side emerges: dumb and smart criminals can rest in knowing they have one thing in common…the truth can set them free.
Texan Blogger, Micole Williams is an educator, filmmaker, author and entertainment columnist for Empower Magazine and www.will-m-power.blogspot.com. Info on her "Tangled Web of True Love Tales" book/film/web series can be found at www.twotlt.weebly.com. Follow her on new page, #TWOTLT (theTWOTLTseries) on Twitter.