Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Review: Isolina

Release date: September 24, 2017 (U.S. Digital May 27, 2020)
Running time: 107 minutes
Starring: Kate McLaughlin, Catriona Evans, Jim Sweeney

After witnessing a murder, a young single mother is forced to act as a witness.  However, this soon draws the ire of many underworld individuals who attempt to stop or change her testimony.  Threatened on all sides, she must do whatever it takes to protect her son.  And she must try to outwit both the good and the bad guys that are using her youth and inexperience against her.

Isolani is a slow, but compelling story.  There is not a lot of action; most the movie develops through dialog and suspense.  And for a movie like this to succeed, there must be good acting and a great script.  Thankfully, Isolani has that in spades.  The story is a complicated one with many players involved.  Isla (McLaughlin) is fantastic as the young single mother.  She has to play both a scared kid and a strong, resourceful woman due to the fact that she is a young single mother.  She does a great job straddling this line and it is really fun to see her as a strong female lead against all of the outside, underworld interests.  Bonnie (Evans) is also great as the cop who is trying to coerce her testimony.  She also has to balance many interests to keep Isla feeling secure while also trying to force the testimony out of her.  

In fact, this movie is filled with people playing multiple angles.  This really is part crime thriller, part character drama.  And that is what makes this film such an intense watch.  Much of the meat of this film is seeing the characters try to play various sides and angles to get what they want.  It is done in such a realistic, gritty way that you will often be holding your breath waiting for something to happen.  There is so much suspense here as you try to figure out who is playing who, who will double cross who, and where the story is going.  The sense of dread is palatable at times, especially for this young mother and her son who literally have nothing and are against everything.  And although the film is a slow burn, it has a satisfying ending after this long ordeal.  

Isolani is a suspenseful tour de force with a strong cast of characters playing multiple angles in this character-driven crime thriller. 

Watch it.

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