Written and directed by Jayson Johnson, when a Caucasian family man loses his wife and child to an African-American drunk driver, a chance encounter with a Neo-Nazi results in him seeking the ultimate revenge. Starring: Jason Kyle, Grace Ingland, Mick Hodder, Livia Gomes Demarchi and Billy Teague.
It’s an extremely relevant and important discussion how easily people can be pulled into extremism, especially those who are vulnerable, however choosing it as the basis for a short film creates a definite challenge. It’s a sincerely heavy topic to handle in only a dozen minutes and there’s perhaps a little too long spent on the sentimental themes of this story to do it justice. The opening montage falls into the romance category, then it takes time to get going, which doesn’t leave much for the crux of its story. It opens up a lot of questions but doesn’t answer all of them, particularly with its ending. While the action itself could be said to surmise the issue it’s tackling, there are a lot of potential consequences left dangling on the precipice.
The visual style of the film also struggles to deal with the tricky depth, it follows the sentimental tone started by its opening. However, that’s not to say it isn’t well done, the shots are nicely framed, and there’s a good use of space to give a variety. It’s also edited well, it doesn’t linger too long on one shot. As well as using a number of different locations to give the film a wider perspective. It may not be able to latch onto the sincerity of the topic but it does show a lot of potential.
With so much of the film’s focus landing on Jason Kyle alone, it puts the bulk of the weight on him and it may be too much to ask. He misses out on bringing a layered portrayal, leaning too far into the emotion in an obvious manner. Grief is a difficult subject to tackle, let alone throwing race and violence into the mix, so while Kyle is convincing, the performance doesn’t go as far as it needs to, to really dig deep into the emotions of his character.
Redress opens up a discussion about how easily people can be led to extremism, persuaded by its easy answers to hatred, but it ultimately bit off more than it could chew. Starting off on such a sentimental note then trying to move into heavy territory was too tricky of a transition. It doesn’t leave itself quite enough time to work through its ending notes, leaving a lot of loose threads. Regardless, it was a challenge to take on at such an early stage in a filmmaker’s career and it showed potential for more.