A family reunion goes awry when the oldest son makes the accusation that his dying father, a famed psychiatrist who also did work for the CIA, adopted his children for the purposes of psychological experimentation.
The Red Robin is a tense psychological thriller unveiling the troubled past, conflict-filled present, and uncertain future of a remarkable family, the Shellners. 75 year-old Dr. Nathaniel Shellner's led an extraordinary life as a psychiatrist working with traumatized patients fleeing war zones, earning himself a Nobel Prize for his work. After having one child, Leonard (48), with his wife, Lillian (72), the Shellners elected to adopt the remainder of their family from the camps where Dr. Shellner worked. Ultimately the Shellners incorporated five children from all over the world into their family - Tommy (36), Julie (38), and Harry (37) As Dr. Shellner lies on his death bed on a frigid, icy day on the fringes of New York City in suburban New Jersey, the family convenes at the house where the couple raised the children for a final, bittersweet farewell to a sensational and inspiring public figure. Or, that's the idea until all hell breaks loose after Tommy arrives and accuses his ... Written by
Michael Z. Wechsler
Tense, tight psychological thriller. Surprise sleeper film
I was able to see a preview of the final cut of this film before it went out to theaters. I didn't have many expectations. Judd Hirsch is a name I recognize and didn't really know anyone else. I figured that it could be interesting with the usual amateurish bits that come with low budget films. Well, this one must have spent a ton of time in editing because each time I was expecting a lull, the film kept you moving and engaged.
Without saying too much, the premise is a birthday party for the dying father, afflicted with terminal cancer. His family consists of his devoted wife, his biological son and three adopted children. His oldest adopted child is acting strangely and complains of nightmares and has become obsessed with finding a buried urn. He's convinced that his adoptive father, a world renowned psychologist, has kept some secrets from the family. And it is about time that Dad confessed to the whole family the real truth about what kind of psychological work he performed with patients - birthday or not.
I half expected the film to become a bit sloppy towards the ending, as most do in this genre, but I was very pleasantly surprised that it is tied up quite neatly and in satisfactory fashion. There shouldn't be any groans from the audience. In fact, I found it an interesting piece on the subject of the human mind. In a world filled with mediocre Hollywood films and independent films that try to hard, this is a hidden sleeper that will keep you engaged.
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