‘Compensation’ review: A deftly crafted yet lengthy South African thriller

A longtime internationally renowned filming location – its diverse landscapes range from the Sahara to the French Riviera – South Africa has provided the anonymous backdrop for many big-budget action thrillers. over the years. Rarer are films from the country’s own industry that aspire to provide an equivalent commercial thrill, which allows the Cape Town-based screenwriter-director Travis Tautedebut feature of “Indemnify“A certain novelty contrasts with its more general qualities. Joining a PTSD firefighter on the run after being framed for his wife’s murder, Taute’s diversionary film far outweighs its modest budget weight of explosive action sequences in its own right. black – but less certain with a story that wobbles from a fugitive drama to an overworked conspiracy nightmare.

A tighter edit could have solved some of the issues in this uneven pacing, and at 124 minutes the movie is noticeably longer, both slowing down and repeating in chroma. However, the far midfield of “Indemnity” is both a glimpse of the tight, neat 90-minute drill that should have been, and a compelling card for Taute himself. Best known for his Netflix series “Blood & Water,” he’s shown enough directing style and athleticism here to take on a pricier production with more moving parts.

His writing leaves a bit more to be desired, when it comes to the film’s rather flat dialogue (“I have evidence of a major government conspiracy,” one character stated early on. ) and pausing, sometimes murky storytelling. The man who leads is charismatic Jarrid GeduldAlso, it would be best when the movie chooses less talk and more action: Although the script leaves his protagonist, Theo Abrams, with a heavy psychological plot, he’s the most engaging and empathetic. in brief intervals, turning directly into panic, pragmatism and rage – as the film puts him in between plot points taken from “The Runaway,” “Bourne Identity” and even the “Manchurian Candidate”.

A vivid shot, a suitably noiseless opening establishes the source of Theo’s problems, as he and his fellow firefighters battle a catastrophic blaze in a ruined Cape Flats town. deprive. At considerable risk, he defies protocol to rescue a baby from a burning house, with tragic consequences appearing in haunting flashbacks. Months later, we found him suspended from work and tried to heal his wounds with alcohol, a method he found more effective than those practiced during forced sessions with a therapist. rapid psychometric data (Susan Danford). His relationship with his patient journalist wife Angela (Nicole Fortuin) is strained and at least verbally violent: When he wakes up the morning after a screaming match to find her strangled to died beside him, the evidence was not in his favor.

Suddenly, Angela’s rejection warning to him that he was in danger – according to a tip from a mysterious informant – didn’t sound so paranoid. Shadow defense contractor M-Tech appears to be targeting a long list of individuals with hard-to-explain connections, and with police detective Rene Williamson (Gail Mabalane) mostly unwilling to listen to the rumors. his frantic explanation, he had little choice but to investigate the plot on his own, on the fly. A spectacularly staged police truck crash provides a way out for him: The chase, on all sides, is beginning.

The succession of tense gunfights and stalemate that ensued was frequently paused as the film soberly addressed PTSD’s impact on emergency services professionals, though viewers will be invest more in elaborate footage. The film’s fight choreography and stunt work are particularly sharp, especially in a lengthy hotel room escape scene that follows Theo cribbing from both the James Bond and MacGyver plays; Zenn van Zyl’s lenses are accordingly fast and snappy.

“Compensation” works best at this practical, easy-to-understand level. The stakes are high enough and the crisis is immersive enough, making the movie’s swing into a light sci-fi genre that – as the M-Tech mob proves more sinister is still within reach – feels a bit contrived. distracting way. The film’s resourceful budgeting doesn’t quite align with the script’s idea of ​​a globally advanced technological conspiracy, giving the proceedings in season three an air of drama that it never intended. now gained by focusing more closely on Theo’s plight. “The internet is a wonderful thing,” he said unconvincingly at one point, explaining a few holes in the process. Taute may have a big future, but his debut is at its best when it comes to keeping things small, simple and concrete, with its feet – and running for dear life – on the ground.

https://variety.com/2022/film/reviews/indemnity-review-1235172316/ ‘Compensation’ review: A deftly crafted yet lengthy South African thriller

Olly Dawes

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