Omaha Film Festival Review: West of Redemption

Omaha Film Festival Review: West of Redemption

West of Redemption is haunting and desolate, yet there is a warm and freeing feeling you get after it’s all over.

This feature explores two dynamics: What do you really know about your spouse? — and — What would you do for love?  Now, those two questions cannot be answered by one film, or even one lifetime, in my opinion. Love isn’t a standard emotion, in which everyone who experiences it is feeling the exact same way. We all feel love in our own, unique way, which means we all would do different things for love. In West of Redemption, we analyze what both Hank Keller(Billy Zane), and Rick Youngblood(Kevin Alejandro) would do for love, their love, Becky(Mariana Klaveno).

We pick up the film with Hank and Becker in a seemingly happy marriage, living just West of Redemption, the cleverly named town that flows with the theme seamlessly. Hank comes across as a loving husband, but we quickly feel how controlling he is, and for good reason. Hanks reason shows up on the porch one day in the form of Rick, who’s importance to the narrative I won’t go into, as it is what rounds this film our and makes it spectacular. Progressing in the film, we experience some tense, heartbreaking moments, with a few suspenseful realizations.

West of Redemption has the sort of plot line that carries the film. That’s not to say we didn’t have excellent acting, cinematography, and pure filmmaking ability, but the screenplay written by Meagan Daine is a thrilling winner. This being her first full link feature that she’s written, it’s impressive how she is able to dominate your expectations, leaving you completely unsure of what is about to unfold. Director Cornelia Moore takes West of Redemption to that higher level, getting the most out of her actors, throwing the knockout punch. There are portions of this film that say so much without saying anything at all, and that is my favorite type of writing. Films so rarely get that right, so it is refreshing to see West of Redemption accomplish that feat.

From it’s title to it’s conclusion, one can tell, this feature is a mysterious and thrilling narrative about love, loss, and most of all, redemption. You’ll leave the screening of this film feeling heartbreak, but also relieved, and most of all you’ll see what great filmmaking is. Don’t miss West of Redemption at Omaha Film Festival, March 12th at 8:45 pm.

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