A Father’s unending grief and the catastrophic repercussions on his life from his struggles to deal with it plays out in a measured tale that mixes psychological thriller with tragic mental health analysis in Kenny Yates’ ReBroken.
Will (Scott Hamm Duenas, who also Co-Wrote with Kipp Tribble) is haunted by the accidental death of his daughter while in his care; an event that has caused his life to spiral into a monotonous slog. His coping mechanisms mainly involve drowning his sorrows in alcohol and tv dinners each night as he relives the tragedy over and over in his mind.
His one saving grace (if it can be called that) is a grief support group he attends each day, though only through the mandate of the court system due to the fact that he was under the influence of alcohol when the accident occurred. It’s difficult to pull himself out of his own anguish and guilt to fully participate, though, and he appears to be nothing more than a shell of his former self as he sits through the self-help techniques.
His course of monotony and despair is altered one night when he’s approached by fellow group member Lydia (Nija Okoro), who encourages Will to visit a homeless man named Von (Tobin Bell) who she claims can end his sadness. When they meet, Von cryptically tells Will that if he stays on “the path”, his daughter will come back to him. From there, ReBroken descends into a dizzying amalgamation of both supernatural and realism, with Will at the center as the remaining shreds of his sanity begin to further fray.
The plot relies heavily on repetitive scenes to lull the viewer into Will’s world in an attempt to understand him, but borders on plodding and stodgy as the wait for something to happen increases as time goes on. It’s clear there’s an underlying mystery, and Will is sympathetic enough of a character to care what that is, but the story takes its time in getting there so much that it begins to incite impatience.
As far as tone, this film does well in bringing out the dreary, hopeless austere of Will’s existence, mostly with hazy camera direction and filming in dull hues. It helps to set the mood and absorb you into what’s occurring, but it wanes in the middle when it relies too heavily on focusing on the monotony of the world.
Duenas succeeds in portraying grief-addled despondency by making Will a man so lost in his own remorse that every action is self-sabotage. It’s easy to feel sorry for him, but it’s also easy to see how flawed he truly is and he plunges deeper into unhinged delirium. Bell is captivating as always, and they smartly use his infamous hypnotic voice to their advantage in intriguing ways that are integral to the story.
Overall, it can be said that this is a study on the effects of bereavement, addiction, and mental illness, and how all can be hopelessly and irrevocably intertwined. There is a payoff, and it’s a good one, but we have to endure a good deal of bleakness and confusion to get there. If you’re patient enough, however, you’ll be treated to a satisfying, if not slightly predictable, mind meld of an ending.
7 Out Of 10