Ripple Effect DVD Review
By Kam Williams
Forest Whitaker and Virginia Madsen Co-Star in Karma-Driven DramaAmer Atrash (Philippe Caland) is an ambitious immigrant from Lebanon living in hot pursuit of the American Dream. The fledgling fashion designer has been so focused on finding the seed money to launch a trendy clothing line that he's ended up neglecting his trophy wife Sherry (Virginia Madsen) and their adorable young daughter.
Then, when a prospective investor (John Billingsley) withdraws his promise of a $12 million line of credit, Amer watches as yet another foolproof plan blows up in his face, a pattern he's become painfully familiar with. Fed up with being ignored, Sherry asks her husband to move into his office.
Left alone with his thoughts, he finds himself forced to confront a deep, dark secret he's hidden from everyone, namely, that 15 years ago he hit Philip Blackman (Forest Whitaker) with his car, a pedestrian left paralyzed by the accident. Suddenly, Amer suspects that his inability to get his business off the ground might be the consequence of bad karma caused by his failure to help the unfortunate paraplegic.
So, he sets out to track down Philip to offer him financial support and to beg for forgiveness, and this quest for redemption sits at the center of Ripple Effect, a thought-provoking drama which takes some surprising twists and turns en route to resolution. For it turns out Phil he has no interest in pity, having long-since made peace with his lot in life.
Furthermore, he has a flourishing career as a college professor, as well as the love if not exactly the fidelity of a pretty wife (Minnie Driver) with whom he shares a rather unorthodox relationship. And when Phil won't accept any money from Amer, this leads to a valuable lesson about what really matters.
Kudos to writer/director/co-star Philippe Caland for crafting such a refreshingly unpredictable cautionary tale filled with complex characters, and for coaxing inspired performances from an A-list cast topped by Forest Whitaker, Virginia Madsen and Minnie Driver.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity.
Running time: 83 minutes
Studio: Monterey Video
DVD Extras: Actor bios, "Thoughts from the Director" and "Behind-the-Scenes" featurettes, and the theatrical trailer.
To see a trailer for Ripple Effect, visit: http://www.montereymedia.com/independent/ripple_effect_trailer.html
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