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Cast: Paul Eenhoorn , Richmond Arquette (Fight Club), Sam Buchanan , Robert Longstreet (Pineapple Express), Demetrius Grosse
Having recently declared bankruptcy, Martin Bonner has just uprooted his life to Reno from the East Coast, leaving behind two adult children and a life he spent decades building. He's working a new job as a volunteer helping prisoners transition to freedom. It's Martin's first job in two years.
Recently released after 12 years in prison and now in the transition program, Travis Holloway is sent back into the world bankrupt of self-esteem as well as of a normal life.
To their surprise their lives and stories begin to converge as they find that they have much in common until their unlikely friendship is put to the test when Travis betrays Martin's trust.
After having the pleasure of watching "This is Martin Bonner" I can see why it was a Sundance Award Winning film. If you're looking for something with Hollywood flash look elsewhere because this isn't that kind of film, instead this is a down to earth, realistic and believable story of two men looking to pick up the pieces and start a new life in a new, strange place.
The film follows Martin Bonner who has just moved to Nevada from the East Coast, leaving behind a life he had for two decades and an adult daughter and son. He's there working a new job as the volunteer coordinator for a non-profit organization that helps prisoners make the transition from incarceration to freedom. Martin has struggled in recent years, he just filed for bankruptcy and this is his first job in two years. Through his job Martin meets Travis Holloway who is being released after serving twelve years for manslaughter after killing someone in a drunk-driving accident. Travis is released with what he has on his back and nothing else which makes it difficult for him to adjust to his new life in Reno as well. Program sponsor, Steve Helms is there for Travis and seems eager to help in any way possible but Travis seems to have a hard time relating to Steve and his strong Christian faith. Martin and Travis meet and find that they have much in common, not the least of which is an unspoken need for encouragement and support. Both have children they desperately want to reconnect with, Travis has his daughter and Martin has his son who never returns his phone calls. What develops into a friendship is later tested when Travis lies to Martin about his estranged daughter wanting to meet him. It's not a malicious act but a desperate one that ultimately puts a strain on their new found friendship.
"This is Martin Bonner" is just as much about Travis as it is Martin, its also a character-driven drama that had me hooked from it's opening scene. The whole time I was hoping each man would find that peace he was looking for and that sense of belonging again. The film's ending seems abrupt but as the credits begin to roll a good feeling of hope sets in, I won't lie I was left wanting more, lots more but that's what an effective, well-written and beautifully acted film does to it's audience.
The entire cast did a fantastic job but the film clearly belongs to its two main stars, Richmond Arquette as Travis and Paul Eenhoorn as Martin. Separate both are amazing, together they take acting to new heights. Production wise the film looks and sounds great. "This is Martin Bonner"is a film that shows how vulnerable we all can be, it's a piece that demonstrates what humanity is all about and it's also story-telling at its finest. This is the type of film that reminds ones-self why we fell in love with cinema in the first place. The film is going to have a Theatrical run in June, you can keep up with its progress by visiting Monterey Media's page HERE. You owe it to yourself to check out this amazing gem. Writer/Director, Chad Hartigan has done several Shorts and a documentary before, this is his first feature film and all I can say is I couldn't be more impressed. I look forward to seeing what this talented filmmaker has coming next. I cannot recommend seeing this film enough, I was engaged right from the start and I was left thinking about Travis and Martin long after it was over...this is powerful stuff.
Released by Monterey Media
***** Out Of *****