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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Minnie Driver, Jeremy Renner, Bobby Coleman, David Denman and Adam Rodriguez
Havana Films
RRP: £9.99
Certificate: 15
Available 05 March 2012

Years have passed since gambling addict, Saul, became desperate enough to steal from his employer, setting off a sequence of events which ended with the death of Ana’s son. Now Ana is drifting through life, and driving to the jail to face the man responsible. Saul, meanwhile, spends the last days of his life talking to a priest, waiting for the day of his execution. In an effort to find some peace in his life, he reaches out to Ana, but will she even come to see him before his time runs out...

Take (2007 - 1 hr, 37 min, 56 sec) is an independent film, written and directed by Charles Oliver.

An independent film, Minnie Driver and a new director does not look like a recipe for a great experience. Driver has had a chequered acting career, but I don’t think I’ve seen her, before, be able to portray the reality of her character so well.

Given the premise, this was always going to rely on the two main actors being able to draw you into the plight of their characters. The structure of the film is somewhat confusing as it leaps between the here and now, Saul awaiting execution, with Ana driving across the state to see him for the last time. However, it also shows Saul’s original day going from bad to worse.

He’s in debt for two grand and his attempts at getting the money are just making things worse. First, he gets fired for thieving from his employer, cuts his hand trying to break a car window and finally, when he goes to pick up his dad's prescription, he tries to hold up the cashier. When that all goes wrong he kidnaps Ana’s son, only to crash the car, killing the child.

The general confusion arises as Ana keeps seeing her son, Jesse, throughout her trip, presumably he is dead, or otherwise she is shown abandoning him in the prison car park. The film does eventually end up showing Jessie’s fate, but not until after a lot of confusion on the audience’s part.

The film is a series of quiet moments, which never get boring. Saul is not fundamentally a bad man, which is why he finds it hard to go to his maker with the child’s death on his soul. Jeremy Renner plays him as a not terribly bright, but fundamentally good man. There is never any indication that he set out to harm anyone.

Of course, given her road trip and his soul searching, the film lives or dies on their eventual meeting. There is an odd moment here as you realise that Saul still has the healing cut he got in the crash, which means it only took about a week from crime to lethal injection in his State, which seems a bit harsh. That aside, the scene is played out beautifully; the silences weigh heavily on both characters as they strive to find meaning and closure. The ending may even bring the odd tear to your eye.

The disc supplied was a screener, so it’s difficult to know if the general poor quality of the picture is what the end product will look like. I certainly hope not, as the poor compression distracts from what is otherwise an excellent example of independent film making. The disc contained no menus or extras and only a DD 2.0 stereo audio track.


Charles Packer

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