Recovery indie film


★★★

Directed by Heath Hetherington and Marcus Scott

Starring Adam Cryne, A. J. Salisbury, Kyle Josef Harvey, Geraden Barthwick, Stuart Ankers, Bryony Miller, Vicki Glover, and Jack Lee

Indie Film Review by Chris Olson


Kidnap movies are a genre unto themselves. The rules and players remain mostly consistent, as do the dramatic devices of peril, threat, violence (actual or suggested) and hope. Indie film Recovery, from filmmakers Heath Hetherington and Marcus Scott, capitalises on these themes brilliantly, offering thematic depth alongside gripping tension.

Opening with an affecting point of view sequence of someone stumbling through the streets in the dark whilst obviously inebriated, Recovery immediately sets its stall among the multiple timelines lot. As the narrative gets laid out for the audience, it becomes apparent that we are primarily concerned with the wellbeing of Philip (Adam Cryne). We see Philip in a variety of scenes, all of which link up but not in order. In one he is casually chatting with a mate (Geraden Barthwick) about a house party, in another he is at said house party attempting to converse with a woman he has just met (Bryony Miller), and in another he is chained to a radiator in a religious fanatic's (A. J. Salisbury) basement.

Wayne (the aforementioned kidnapper) is like a cross between the Kathy Bates character in Misery and the Paul Dano character in There Will Be Blood. Portrayed with an enigmatic performance by Salisbury, his scenes are easily the most viscerally entertaining during the movie, capturing a righteous anger and a beautifully hidden darkness. When we hear the stories of the other victims, the grim puzzle gets pieced together by the viewer and Philip.

Some of the dialogue is a little clunky, stepping over the melodrama boundary a few times, and the characters have a habit of offering a little too much exposition for my taste. That being said, there are huge sections of the movie that are completely gripping, especially when Salisbury raises the threat level.

Hetherington and Scott deliver some impressive visual flair to complement the story, such as that startling opening sequence, or some of the more brutal moments in the basement. These added gravitas to the drama, allowing the heavier themes to not be lost amongst the violence, which could have been a risk had the filmmakers been tempted to venture into the Slasher genre. Instead, the issues such as alcoholism, grief, and loneliness are all kept well intact, and explored with impressive intelligence.

Cryne's performance as the leading character is well balanced and emotionally hefty. An excellent scene in a bar where he drinks himself into a stupor is particularly well done, offering little snippets of black comedy and tragedy about his situation. Cryne also copes well with the more physical aspects of the role, especially in the final third.

Shout out to Jack Foran who provides a tumultuous score that perfectly accompanies the thriller, adding a sense of peril and mystery throughout, and the sound design by Stuart Ankers which is equally as well chosen.

Like the best kidnap stories, the time has come for me to let you, the reader, go and escape to freedom but before I do I would just say that Recovery is a powerful and tense watch. Whilst being a little rough around the edges, it more than makes up for this with great performances, impactful themes and an intelligent balancing of genres.

Watch the official movie trailer for Recovery below...


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