Monday, 30 November 2015

Reclaim - film review

Reclaim is a recent film directed by Alan White and set in Puerto Rico which, so it seems from a quick look on the internet, hasn't attracted a great deal of admiration. I find that hard to understand, because I thought it a very gripping and tightly written movie which managed to combine action with a degree of poignancy and emotional impact.

The set-up is that a pleasant, good-looking American couple, played by Ryan Philippe and Rachelle Lefevre, are staying in Puerto Rico with a view to completing the formalities of adopting their new daughter Nina, who has come from Haiti. Angie, the woman they are dealing with, seems kind and efficient, and the new parents couldn't be happier.

The only cloud on the horizon at first is that they come across a rather odious group of three people who keep them awake one night with their rowdiness. John Cusack plays Benjamin, who is the leader of the trio, and whose superficial pleasantries are grating from the outset. But soon the visitors have something much more important to worry about. Nina goes missing from her room, and attempts to contact Angie prove fruitless. Soon it becomes apparent that the young and affluent Americans are the victims of a cruel scam.

The plot twists follow thick and fast in the second half of the film, but I was impressed by the way that the screenplay managed to balance action with economical touches of characterisation. I felt involved with the protagonists' fate, and certainly cared about what would happen to them, and the little girl who was the pawn of greedy criminals. I can vividly recall talking to someone who was going to adopt a child, and getting an insight into the emotional complications and challenges that the whole process involves in this country, let alone elsewhere. It's a sensitive subject, and one that I felt White, the writers and the cast handled well. Don't believe the bad reviews. This is, in iny opinion, a really good film.  

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