Repentance (I) (2013)
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The cast bring it in terms of acting, my congratulations to the people who thought this would be great for an all black cast. The direction, the casting, was brilliant. Mind, consciousness, terror, a strong sense of reality, moving at real life pace, all the ingredients for a great psychological thriller are there. Very atypical for an all black cast, remember, I said atypical, please look it up and don't get confused. I personally think they should have maintained the original title VIPAKA. I played the Seer so I won't comment on my brilliant work :), I read the guidelines and it doesn't say I can't review a film I'm in, since many actors don't like films they're in, this one, is definitely worth a shot especially if you like the actors in it, (I personally can never take my eyes off of Forest Whitaker) and that genre, you will be happy you saw it.
"Repentance" begins with a couple drunken men driving home from a binge. The driver is a mess and hits some pedestrian and then you see the car smash. Suddenly, the movie jumps forward four years. The driver of the car, Tommy Carter (Anthony Mackie), is a respected author who writes new age self-help books. He's at a book signing and Angel (Forest Whitaker) tells him that he loves his booksso much that he'd love to have some one on one counseling. However, Tommy declines--saying he's too busy and doesn't take on clients any more. Soon Tommy's ne'er do well brother arrives from prison and demands that Tommy give him a lot of money because he 'owes him'. You assume it probably has something to do with the opening scene, as the brother was the passenger in the car of the night of the accident. So, reluctantly, Tommy decides to take Angel on as a client to get money for the brother.
The work Tommy does with Angel is like a combination of being a life coach and a lot of new age mysticism and ceremonies. The problem is that this sort of work might work fine for reasonably well adjusted folks, but it's very obvious that Angel is emotionally disturbed VERY emotionally disturbed. Freaking crazy emotionally disturbed! Angel hallucinates and clearly should be seen by a team of psychiatristsnot some self-taught counselor. However, Tommy decides to treat the man. Further, he feels that Angel's problems can be solved by him stop taking his medication, working through some grieving ceremonies and thinking positive thoughts! Soon, Angel descends further and further into madness. Now it's obvious to Tommy that he's way in over his headhis brand of feel-good counseling is no match for 100% nuts! At first, he unwisely ignores Angel's requests for more sessions and later he goes to Angel's house to tell him that he needs to get help that he cannot give himprofessional help. And then .things get violent and really, really crazy! Tommy is attacked and awakens in a basementbound and at the mercy of a man who is out of his mind. Believe it or not, this is only about a third of the way into the film. What follows is terrifying and Tommy is tormented by this madman. But there's more far more. Exactly what's next you'll need to see for yourself.
While I thought Repentance was a very good filmespecially because of its acting and clever twistsI also thought it was very hard for the average person to watch. After all, much of the film involves torture. There is a lot of blood and the film is definitely NOT for the squeamish. It also has a lot of loose ends that are deliberately left that way at the end of the film. I didn't mind that at all, as I like films where the viewers can debate exactly what will happen next. My wife, though, HATES films with such endings and I doubt if I ever could get her to watch a film like this.
So is it appropriate for you? Well, if you could sit through "Misery", you might be able to handle this one okay, but it's a bit gorier and more difficult to watch. It certainly is NOT a film for kids, your mother or anyone else who is looking for a feel good film! But, in its defense, the film IS well done, has some clever writing and delivers a very powerful punch. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
Round-Up: Forest Whitaker is not an actor that has chose the easiest path in his career. I would have thought that he has earned the right to pick and choose what roles to take, so it might just be down to bad choices why he has starred in so many dodgy movies lately. From big movies like the Butler and The Last King Of Scotland to the dodgy Pawn, Crossfire and the Truth, he has really had a rollacoaster of a career. Maybe he's just addicted to work like Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro. Anthony Mackies career has picked up lately with roles in the new Captain America, Pain and Gain and the new Avengers movie, so I doubt that this film will harm his portfolio. In all, this film must have looked good on paper but it just wasn't put together well by the director.
Budget: $5million Worldwide Gross: $1million
I recommend this movie to people who are into their suspense/drama/thrillers about a man whose suffering with psychological problems after the death of his mother and seeks for help from a successful book writer. 3/10
When it comes to some actors, there is just a go to style which seems to fit them well. For Will Smith, it is the likable and approachable Black guy; Denzel Washington, as of late, recycles his Training Day persona; and then there is Forest Whitaker who usually plays off putting characters. This one is no different but, with a character which reminded me of Kathy Bates in Misery, the question is whether his portrayal as Angel was good, or just another awkward character of his to write off?
Characters & Story
A man with mental issues named Angel (Forest Whitaker) has lost his mom; his wife, to a point; and now all he has is his house and daughter. So needless to say, he is troubled. But there is one man he believes can help him: that man is Tommy Carter (Anthony Mackie) whose self-help book dealing with his brush with death seems to have had a profound effect on Angel. But as Angel reveals his demons, Tommy finds himself facing off with them and his own which involve wife Maggie (Sanaa Lathan), as well as Ben (Mike Epps). Leaving us with a film which makes it seem that Tommy may have taken on Angel's problems a bit too lightly.
As always, Whitaker playing an unnerving character just fits. It pretty much has been his signature, to me anyway, since Jason's Lyric in the 90s. And in this movie he is not only off putting, but a bit frightening as well. Arguably, Whitaker could probably play, with the right script, an iconic fictional villain again and perhaps set a precedent people would be trying to match for years. Though, it should be noted, the rest of the cast surely isn't slacking. Mackie hold his own against Whitaker and does attempt to compete for intensity. But you can see Whitaker's veteran status definitely gives him the upper hand.
When it comes to the story though, it does require you to be a tad bit open- minded. For one, Whitaker as Angel is so off putting that it is hard to understand why Tommy would allow himself to be alone with this man. Then, when you add in Lathan and Epps' characters, you see a side-story there which isn't fully cohesive with the main story. For one, it doesn't act well as a break between Angel's mad moments, nor does it really draw you into either Lathan or Epps' characters fully. And two, as much as I understand they are there to beef up Tommy, neither character is written, or maybe portrayed, to the point you really care about them. Lathan's character, to me, barely evolves past being a shallow love interest. Then with Epps, who honestly I am just not fond of as an actor, not only are you given this brash and utterly unappealing character, but the attempt at giving him a proper back-story to draw sympathy out of you just feels utterly weak.
Overall: TV Viewing
Though I am not highly fond of either Lathan or Epps' characters, their place in the film hardly takes away from Whitaker and Mackie's story. If anything, Epps and Lathan are like a pickle which comes with your burger which wasn't asked for. But overall I am labelling this as "TV Viewing" since even though I like Whitaker and Mackie in this movie, honestly neither pushes the story to a place where it makes this "Worth Seeing." It is decent to spend some time with, especially if you are a fan of anyone involved, but this surely isn't the highlight of any of their careers. Just another film and another paycheck.
I guess it doesn't take long for Hollywood to forget how talented an actor is, and Whitaker wasn't offered anymore challenging roles. I guess, for financial reasons, he took whatever roles were offered.
To say this movie was completely awful and was poorly written is an understatement. The characters were unbelievable and the storyline did not make any sense. First of all, how could a street thug become transformed into a licensed therapist and earn TWO graduate degrees within a time frame of 4 years? How come the little girl did not hear any screaming after she left the locked room she was in? Why did the child's mother allow the father to have so much unsupervised time with the child? It was obvious he was unbalanced and unstable.
I just can't believe how low Whitaker stooped to make this garbage. Not worthy of an actor of his caliber.
Please God do not try to watch it all the way through, you will feel only rage.
Seriously, I am legitimately angry at the producers of this movie for allowing it to be released. I've been robbed, beaten, and berated, but this movie is the worst crime ever committed against me.
I don't think I've ever hated anything this much in my life.
This is still a tough watch, because the title is chosen for a reason. There is not always reason to things happening in the movie and it seems a bit like a muddle from time to time, but it's still able to hold up a certain degree of suspense, if you let it to. The actors try their best to divert from some holes in the script (or finished movie, if scenes got deleted for pacing reasons) and the movie will be explicit in depicting violence to a degree.
Then, into the mix comes Anthony Mackie as Thomas Carter, and here's where things begin to fall apart. Not so much because of Mackie. He was all right. But the character, and the direction the story takes. Mackie's some sort of New Age counsellor type, and once that's introduced the movie disintegrates into a cacophony of meaningless and sometimes incoherent New Age mumbo jumbo. Then - because Angel and Tommy have to be brought together in some way - there's the very fortunate release of Tommy's brother Ben (Mike Epps) from prison. Ben needs money, he wants it from Tommy, Tommy apparently owes him big time so to get money he takes on - voila! - Angel as a patient. Yes. A happy coincidence. Angel's "plan" wouldn't have had a chance had that not happened. And then mixed into this there's a lot of unnecessary supernatural stuff revolving around the ongoing presence of Angel's mom. What was the point of that? Why couldn't Angel just have been out for revenge? Why did he need to keep seeing his mom? And then it wasn't just a figment of his imagination - because his daughter had some sort of contact with her as well. Totally unnecessary; totally pointless. Thrown in because ... well ... I don't really know why it was thrown in. Just because apparently. And the ending was ... not satisfying. To say the least.
Yeah. I like Forest Whitaker. But this is one Forest Whitaker movie I wish I hadn't seen. (3/10)
Average suspense and unpredictable ending makes it a 5 of 10. Definitely no horror (as advertised)or much Thrill but quality acting saved it from lower ratings.
I mean despite it's flaws, I did enjoy for instance THE CONFIDANT (2010) which has some similarities to this, and was also a Codeblack Entertainment movie, so I was thinking that this could still be good.
I'm fans of most of the cast... Forest Whitaker especially who is one of my big time favourites.
But, neither of them can save this poorly written psychological thriller (without much logic).
Riddled with plot holes and not a single likable character in sight that seemingly get less likable by the minute it quickly becomes a dull watch.
I'm all for African American movies in diverse settings and genres but this is a really poor attempt of a movie and it makes NO GOOD DEED (2014) look like a masterpiece in comparison.
Yeah a very disappointing effort indeed.
The movie seems to be making the case that people like the Mackie character are just glib, overpaid shysters, taking advantage of people's suffering by offering them little but shibboleths and bromides to help them cope with their problems - but any message the movie might be trying to convey is subsumed by the unpleasant melodramatics that come to dominate the second half. Yeomen that they are, Mackie and Whitaker work valiantly to overcome the various roadblocks that the script throws in their path, but even these two fine performers eventually have to concede that they're fighting a losing battle here. Even the "surprise" ending and moralistic message can't ultimately redeem this cinematic turkey.
Mackie plays an author/self-help guru who agrees to help Whitaker, who goes ballistic, and takes him hostage for his sins of the past. I was never quite sure what Whitaker's character's full motivation was (against the Mackie character), and not sure if the movie completely resolved everything. The performances were fine, but the movie itself never quite ropes you in enough to really care about the outcome. But a valiant effort nonetheless...
The problem is I had no idea that this was a horror film till I visited this page. The director makes cuts and uses camera angles that are not suspenseful at all, neither is the music. In fact, I thought it was a pretty up-film with some unnecessary gory scenes. The dialogue is very weak and unfortunately gives a pretty good cast little to do that is interesting. I would have to say that Ghost Dog was a much better investigation of a disturbed man with a life journey (Forest is good in both films, and he has nothing to prove anymore, but this film was not his best exploration of his craft.)
Mike Epps was also good for his first role and I had wished he had more of a chance to explore his character because it seems like he was on to something. So, the acting is good, but the film is weak, and poorly directed for such a strong cast.