A quick summary,
A family is broken by the death of the mother. The father fails to cope with the grief whilst trying to raise two children, one being led astray by his rebellious elder brother. 13-year-old Jacob is putting his younger brother in danger with his constant vandalism and problems with the law. Hollis feeds them takeaways and leaves them to run the house while he gets wasted at the bar to try to forget his grief. All this gets noticed by social services which leads to Wes the youngest to be put into care, and it’s up to Hollis and Jacob to change their ways and get him back before it’s too late.
The death of his wife breaks Hollis (Aaron Paul), he loses touch with what’s important – his children. He spends his time working on a lost cause, clinging on to the life he had before his wife’s death, neglecting his 13-year-old son Jacob (Josh Wiggins) and his younger boy, Wes (Deke Garner). Left to their own devices, Wes looks to his older brother, but Jacob looks to his friends and to breaking the law. Wes still has the innocence every child has but that innocence left Jacob when him mother died. Jacob vandalises, steals and does what he can to break the rules, dragging Wes along with him.
Hollis’s emotions and his awareness of his children have receded beyond measure. He feeds them takeaway food, forgets to take care of the house and spends his nights getting drunk and trying to forget. It’s not long before social services catch wind of Wes’s standing in the family, and just as quick as they come, Wes is taken away and put under the care of his aunt Pam (Juliette Lewis).It’s now in Hollis and Jacob’s hands to do what they can to prove themselves and get Wes back into the family. Hollis tries his best; he makes an effort around the house and with Jacob. Jacob gets back into his love of motocross to enter a tournament and win some money for the family. But life doesn’t give them a break and Jacob takes one last dangerous and desperate effort to get his brother back.
This isn’t my favourite area of film so I was a little hesitant to review it. The story is a very real one which many people will sadly be able to relate. The effects of a parent’s death on a young child cannot be controlled Retribution shows what could easily happen to hundreds of families. Jacob cannot fully understand what his dad is going through, but his way of coping is to break the law as much as he can. So from the very beginning I didn’t like him.
Pretending you’re the toughest 13-year-old in the world is no way to make friends. But by the end he gets you on side, slightly. The screenplay and flawless acting really sucks you into the world and it truly seems believable and real which makes a great piece of film. ‘Hellion’ was originally a short story and made into the feature Retribution. This one was a hit at the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival and it’s easy to see why. But as I said I don’t usually go in for this type of thing so I wasn’t amazed by it and sometimes a little bored. Calling it thriller seems a bit of a stretch, saying it’s a drama would have been enough, similar to the film Winter’s Bone starring Jennifer Lawrence kept springing to mind, they both have the same gritty feel to them.
Retribution is released onto DVD and Blu-Ray on the 12th of January. Check it out.