Directed by Alan White
RECLAIM is a dramatic thriller from director Alan White. Set in a tropical paradise, Steven and Shannon are finally making their dream come true of starting a family by adopting a less-fortunate child. Though it’s not initially disclosed how much the couple have stumped up for the little girl named Nina, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out where the plot is leading. The narrative and its twist are pretty much obvious from the first five minutes and the naivety of the couple is almost cringeworthy as they foolishly think everything will go to plan.
Ryan Phillippe and Rachel Lefevre stars as husband and wife Steven and Shannon. The young couple are so optimistic at the prospect of their new family with little Nina in it after their tragic history which prevents them from having children of their own. The viewer empathises with the couple but at the same time, their gullible personas can be a little infuriating. Ryan Phillippe doesn’t really convince as the father. His youthful looks and the way he acts around the little girl seems more brotherly or friendly rather than paternal. Whilst the father role might not be the best fit, Phillippe handles the action scenes, later in the film, with ease. Lefevre, on the other hand, conveys the maternal emotion superbly and she too works well with the action elements.
Staying at a beachside apartment, the new family bump into fellow holidaying neighbour Benjamin, played by John Cusack. The way he acts around the couple, especially all the questions he fires at them which aren’t the sort you’d ask a stranger, feels unnatural. The worse bit is that Steven and Shannon are too blind to see this and end up giving this man details of their life, openly and willingly. I’m surprised they didn’t just give him their pin number whilst they were at it.
When Nina goes missing, the film accelerates into panic territory with the couple making numerous mistakes and finding themselves in so much trouble that the only way they’ll get out of it alive is by fighting – not just for themselves, but for ‘family’.
Whilst the script needs work and the plot couldn’t be more obvious, this isn’t a bad movie. It’s just not a good one either. It’s the sort of movie you’d flick on TV if there wasn’t anything else on. The setting of Puerto Rico though is beautiful and the film manages to capture the stunning surroundings. But as we know from movies, behind every tropical haven is a seedy, dangerous underworld. The performances of the actors, who are all talented in their own right, appear to be hindered by the script which screams conspicuous from every angle, which is probably the major downfall of the film. Film fans will be pleased though to see a small role from Luis Guzmán who stars as the blunt but friendly local police chief.
If you fancy a film that doesn’t require much thought, RECLAIM might be up your street but don’t let the gritty thriller cover art of the DVD fool you – it’s nothing of the sort.