EXEC PROD Thom Fitzgerald, Chad Maker
PRODS David Miller, Marc Almon, Jason Buxton
SCR Jason Buxton
CAM Stephanie Weber-Biron
ED Kimberlee McTaggart
PROD DES Bill Fleming
MUS Asif Illyas, Shehab Illyas
PROD CO A71 Productions / Story Engine Pictures / Festina Lente Productions
Sean Randall (Connor Jessup) is a troubled teen—but not nearly as troubled as his ignorant small-town community and its justice system make him out to be. At the beginning of the film his house is raided by cops, who confiscate his father’s hunting weapons and throw him in jail for allegedly planning a school massacre. Life has been hard on Sean, and as the story progresses we see it get harder and harder.
Jessup gives a superbly understated performance as the alienated teen, and director Jason Buxton weaves a brilliant narrative of suspense. For much of the film he manipulates the time frame, flashing back for a background and context that’s revealed piecemeal, and building a fearful suspense by showing Sean’s plight in increments of escalating persecution. Buxton is unflinching in his depiction of psychological torment and institutional cruelty, but this is far from a hopeless film. It’s a story of violent upheaval from without and gradual change from within. Sean’s hardships—undeserved on every level—threaten to break him. His strength is not physical or institutional but internal: the kind that is easiest to lose. He will be tested by legal manipulations, social ostracizing and brutal violence, with only his courage and his conviction in himself to bring him through. The suspense is not just story-based, but moral and psychological—and it’s very powerful.