Today, I am reviewing The Redeemer and as the lights came down and the film started I knew I was in for something epic. If you are a Western fan which I am, then I can tell you right off the bat the cinematography in this film is exquisite, the storyline captivating.
Walking into the Soho international film festival last week, there was a buzz right away. Moving into the theater to take a seat to review the films it occurred to me that the filmmakers that made it to this level were very excited about this night, and so they should be. This old theater in New York’s East Village, with great architecture and ceilings is an excellent space to have your film viewed for the first time.
On tonight’s double bill was The Redeemer a feature film Western, and Tony’s Garage, a short shot in New York.
I have seen and reviewed a lot of westerns in my day. One of the main problems with Westerns is whether or not they have the budget and the acting to pull it off and not be hokey.
The Redeemer Spectacular Performance
The first thing I will tell you is that this film is spectacular. It looks very big budget. The acting is thoroughly consistent and correct.
The writing and directing by Myles Clohessy is spot on, and it was very obvious that he had done a lot of research into the Western genre.
Someone in the audience during the Q&A made the comment that “I even watched the background in the wild west town, and have to tell you that every single one of the people in that town looks like they belong there and they didn’t look like your typical Hollywood background trying to get from one point to another.”
The film starts out with Kai Nelson (Baylee Toney) who is the lead, and her husband James Nelson (Greg Hovanessian) establishing their wonderful relationship in the wild frontier.
The performances of Baylee Toney and Greg Hovanessian were excellent. They were extremely natural and really helped drive the family element of this film.
The role of Aponi Nelson, the elder Native American in the film, is played by Irene Bedard. Her performance was gentle, but strong. Throughout the film, she proves why she is the matriarch as she helps calm Baylee’s character and focuses her attention on keeping it together.
Probably one of the most horrific, terrorizing and strongest moments in the film is when the matriarch meets her demise. Spoiler alert: The scene where Aponi is executed and the way it was done is haunting, and brought many of the audience to tears.
Enter the Bad Guys
Tim V Murphy plays the head bad guy in this film. His presence is strong and leading as Tim does in all of the film work that I’ve seen him in. I can’t help but notice that the costuming was so well executed and didn’t look like someone got apparel from party central which appears to be common sometimes for Westerns. He had an amazing long fur coat and a goatee and mustache and a hat that fit his tall stature and his character’s evil persona.
His right-hand man, played by Will Roberts in the role of Carl, was the perfect essence of the greatest bad guys I have seen in westerns rolled into one. With a left deadeye, a gold tooth, a scar on his face, and a busted front tooth, I knew the minute I saw him in the film that it was going to be an interesting ride. Will Roberts’ performance was excellent – he did not disappoint.
Carl sat there in the background smoking, spitting, and handling his weapons like I’ve never seen before in film work. A little research on Mr. Roberts shows he holds two world records with spinning guns, ropes, and whips … And when you look at him, not as Carl, you might even say he is a modern-day James Bond.
Will Roberts’ last scene where Carl meets his demise is an amazing piece of cinema. The way he went down was fitting. All I will say is that at the last moment when all is said and done the audience roared and applauded because of what happened to him, and who brought him down. Makes you want to see the film, doesn’t it.
I really liked Chris Mulkey, who plays Butch, Kai Nelson’s father. He is a strong presence all the way through. Mo Brings Plenty, who helps Chris’s character along the way makes a very good team with Mulkey, with really good chemistry on screen.
Myles’ father, Robert Clohessy, plays a really interesting, fun comedy relief in the film. He is someone that really looks right for the old west but yet still would fit in Harry Potter. He had people chuckling from the beginning.
Overall this film is more than a Western. There are strong notes of women’s issues and Native American issues. I would say that the film is as much in that direction as it is a Western. However, they definitely deliver on the High Noon-style 3:10 to Yuma look in this film.
One final note is that listening to Myles Clohessy as the Director and writer and researcher of this film, he has a real presence. I just would love to throw out a comment saying that this young man is definitely a feature Director and writer. I am pretty sure this film will provide him with a great vehicle to be up there with some of the best directors of our day.
During the Q&A after the film, Director Myles Clohessy and some of the other cast members and crew explain to the audience the trials and tribulations of shooting a film in the dead of winter in Montana at 12 degrees and even minus temperatures at times.
But as much as the behind-the-scenes stuff was interesting in the Q&A, the film was definitely the main event.
“I made ‘The Redeemer’ in honor of National Indigenous Peoples Day. It was written in honor of and in memory of all the Native American women who go missing, are killed / sexually abused in higher numbers than any other single demographic in our country. Crimes against Indigenous women in our country go unsolved more than any other female demographic in our nation. This is a horrifying statistic.”
“This film is for them. They are missing but not forgotten.”
“Also, an especially big Thank You to the nearby Montana Blackfeet Nation for providing the most outstanding of background actors.”
The Redeemer Trailer
If you’re in the mood for a Western or for watching Native Americans and women rise to the occasion and seize the day, The Redeemer is your film.
The Redeemer Cast and Crew
Run Time: 119 minutes
Myles Clohessy (story by)
Brandon Routh … Garrett Nelson
Irene Bedard … Aponi Nelson
Chris Mulkey … Butch Nelson
Greg Hovanessian … James Nelson
Mo Brings Plenty
Timothy V. Murphy … Captain Randall Ferguson
Robert Clohessy … Charles Kennedy
Lukas Hassel … Billy Buckley
Dana Sparks … Marlene Kennedy
Will Roberts … Carl
Baylee Toney … Kai Nelson
Brandon Lessard … Flint
Melanie Rae Wendt
D. Reride Smith
Darina Eid … Sofia
Nicholas E. Schultz … Gus
Scott McCauley … Wyatt
Everett Blunck … Extra
Sami Bass … producer
Tina Buckingham … associate producer
Myles Clohessy … executive producer / producer
Robert Clohessy … executive producer
DJ Dodd … producer
Thomas Grant … executive producer
Ramsey K. Heitmann … producer
Ari Novak … producer
Steven Schrager … executive producer
Rob Simmons … producer
Mike Walsh … producer
Antony Ware … line producer / producer
Film Editing by
Production Design by
Art Direction by
Set Decoration by
Costume Design by
Macee Barry … key makeup artist
Melissa Ferreira … makeup department head / special makeup effects artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ramsey K. Heitmann … first assistant director
Antony Ware … second assistant director
Kellie Christensen … property master
Przemyslaw Reut … storyboard artist
Jake Songstad … set dresser
Walid Alhamdy … boom operator / sound
Danny Knutson … dialogue editor / re-recording mixer / sound designer
Jeffrey Roy … vo mixer
Melissa Ferreira … special effects
Fionn Camp … stunts
Nicholas E. Schultz … Stunt Double: Brandon Routh
Camera and Electrical Department
Michael Jezak … key grip
Francis Rasmussen … best boy electric / electrician
Declan Saint-Onge … still photographer
Hallie Swain … first assistant camera
Clemence Therin … gaffer
Tina Buckingham … casting director: / casting
Paul Ruddy … casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Vicki Hales … costumer
Crae Aislinn O’Connor … assistant costume designer
Michael Bouska … Score Mixer
Rhyan D’Errico … additional music
Mike Wax … music editor
Gregory Gould … transportation coordinator
Carlton Nienhouse … Assistant Armorer
Tracy Oliver … Animal wrangler
Nicholas E. Schultz … Wrangler: Gang Boss
Stanley Schultz … Boss Wrangler
Stanislav Shkilnyi … insurance
Maggie Slepian … Horse Wrangler
Duncan Vezain … Wrangler
Ante Novakovic … special thanks
- Ident Films
- Future Proof Films
- JARS Productions