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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Redeemer (2002)

"Twenty years, man! I've been trying to show these people that I deserve my freedom…and nothin'."
- Charles Henderson (Obba Babtundé)

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: October 10, 2003

Stars: Matthew Modine, Obba Babtundé, Michelle Greene
Other Stars: Benz Antoine, Stephanie Biddle, Daniel Brochu, Cas Anvar, Chip Chuipka, Alexander Bisping
Director: Graeme Clifford

Manufacturer: Directorsite
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong language, unsettling violence)
Run Time: 01h:29m:40s
Release Date: March 18, 2003
UPC: 707729137436
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-BB D-

DVD Review

In films involving potentially compelling real-life situations, nothing can be more frustrating for writers, performers, and viewers than to have it watered down on a conventional broadcast outlet. Redeemer, a 2002 made-for-television movie, is cursed with such a disadvantage; one can only wonder just how much better it could have been under the wing of HBO or Showtime.

Charles Henderson (Obba Babtundé) is a Dalesboro Correctional Facility inmate who's slowly beginning to accept the fact that he will never be a free man. Despite good behavior, his role in a 1960s fraternity house shooting continues to be a thorn of anguish. On that fateful night, Henderson took part in a Black Panther raid on what they thought was a drug house, a commonplace routine in which any money stolen would go for the betterment of their surroundings. However, on this occasion, somebody goofed big time, in more ways than one. After realizing that the drug house they have invaded is actually home to a bunch of rightfully scared hippie fraternity kids, one of Henderson's cohorts gets an itchy trigger finger and accidentally kills one of the inhabitants.

Some two decades later, all of the participants in the raid have gone free (including the gunman). Even though Charles' only crime was being an accessory, that doesn't matter to the victim's surviving sibling Sharon Davidson (Michelle Greene), who continues to show up at every parole hearing to testify against him. But thanks to Paul Freeman (Matthew Modine), a novelist currently teaching a creative writing class at Dalesboro, a ray of hope emerges. Impressed with Henderson's personal essay on what got him into the big house, Freeman feels it could be published. Yet instead of playing agent, Paul's curiosity gets the best of him as he begins to dig deeper into the whole story on a personal level, a move that doesn't exactly endear him to Charles, much less Davidson. But the unjust imprisonment is a cause Freeman won't let die.

Even with the disadvantage of network broadcast limitations and the occasional prisoner-finds-redemption clichés that can't help but worm their way inside, earnest performances by Modine, Babtundé and Greene elevate Redeemer a notch. Despite a hit and miss first third, once the story finds its footing, the film becomes quite watchable, thanks to two emotive subplots involving Henderson's close relationship with his son and kinship with an elderly prisoner.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Pretty much in keeping with most low budget television projects, no great shakes or leap-out-at-you quality, but colors are above average considering the circumstances.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Excepting occasional directional effects, aurals are in the same league as the video counterpart, although lower frequencies are a cut above for a TV movie such as this; dialogue is extremely upfront and always understandable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Only an enclosed insert.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

If wrongly incarcerated prisoner movies are to your liking, Redeemer should command your attention.

 


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