Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Crime
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Director: Christine Edwards
Cast: Ayvianna Snow, Jake White, Alex Reid
After her parents die suddenly just as she is about to go to music college, Naomi is drawn to Raphael, a quiet and enigmatic stranger. However, Raphael is not what he seems – he is a fallen angel.
Retribution is a film with two titles. IMDb, Vimeo and Amazon credit it as ; “Retribution”. However, the title given within the film itself and on some posters/DVD artwork, label it “Requiem”. In a way it doesn’t matter. Both titles are as vague, bland and generic as each other. In a way it’s a form of foreshadowing, as confusion and inconsistency are two things I’ve become to associate very closely with the movie.
In the world of the film, two groups of angels are on earth with human form, there are the “good” angels who like humans, and “bad” angels who hate humans and have strayed from God. Apparently these two sides are at “war”, despite the fact that we never see physically fight. At one point I think a few of them bump chests, 2 AM in the bar “You lookin’ at my girl?!?!” style, but that’s about the peak of it.
Boiled down, the feature has two main plot threads. The main story concerns a young woman, Naomi, who falls in love with an angel named, “Raphael”.Unfortunately at the viewers expense, the couple are rather bland and at times properly unlikable. Raphael, is an extremely brooding fellow who aggressively mumbles most of his dialogue and never seems to crack to smile.
Naomi, played by Ayvianna Snow, spends most of film with a confused and dopey expression on her face, as if the director hadn’t told her how to act or as if she suffers from short-term memory and doesn’t ever know where she is, or that she’s in a film. Other times her lines are delivered with a hateful sense of smug and arrogance . The dialogue between the two is often tiring, but at few moments produces a giggle. My favourite part of the film is when the two are out together to on a date at a green screen shot of the river Thames, Raphael says to his new love:
“If you ever see an angel, run.”
Naomi, who at this in the film is completely naive to the existence of the supernatural and has been completely invested in everything Raphael has said up to his point, responds with
“Sorry, I lost my train of thought”
Then the scene just cuts and the film moves on.
Plot B revolves around a group of the “evil” angels who are helping a small time drug dealer, played by Alex Reid of all people, take over the London underground and some of the more moral angels make minor attempts to stop them, usually with some stern warnings.
The issue being that it is often hard to decipher which side which under-developed character is on and the antagonistic angels’ reasons for helping some random drug dealer become the crime kingpin of London are revealed way too late into the story, so it’s hard to care about just about anything. The dialogue between the characters here is even more dull than in the love story. Much of the exposition sounds like it was taken from Kevin Smith’s Dogma but without the charm and humour in the script or effort behind the delivery. In particular, the phrase; “Glorified ape”,gets repeated to immense tedium.
On a technical aspect, Retribution frequently has the competence paralleling that of a student film that was shot in a weekend. Dialogue is often out of sync with a lot of obvious and heavy ADR use. Much of the scenery looks cheap, with “clubs” and “restaurants” having a striking resemblance to a middle-class back room, with little effort made to have it appear other-wise.
Compliments must be made to the cinematography, every now and then there is a frame that is genuinely good looking, with strong colours and striking lighting. Not all the time though. A lot of the time it looks cheap and lazy, as if a colour filter was added in during editing.
Believe it or not, the final few minutes of Retribution/Requiem, is just a blank red screen, likely put there so the film would technically crawl past the 90 minute mark for the DVD box, which in many ways sums up the product as a whole. Lazy, underdeveloped and with a general lack of caring or effort. Just don’t go watch it.