Reviewed byl_rawjalaurenceVote: 7/10/10
THIS IS MARTIN BONNER focuses on the lives of two misfits trying toadjust to a new life in the desert city of Reno, Navada. Australianémigré Martin (Paul Eenhoorn) tries to adjust to life as a volunteer ina local jail after having experienced a crisis of faith followed bylong-term unemployment. Travis Holloway (Richmond Arquette) is releasedfrom the same jail, and attempts to forge a new life outside by livingin a seedy motel and working as a car park attendant. Both men havegrown-up children: Martin communicates mostly by phone, while Travis'daughter Diana (Sam Buchanan) hasn't seen her father since he went toprison twelve years previously. When father and daughter do meet, theconversation remains awkward, to say the least. Chad Hartigan'slow-budget drama focuses on the loneliness of the two protagonists'lives as they spend their evenings in nondescript rooms, roam thestreets either on foot, in the car or on the bus, and try to connectwith people around them. Reno is hardly the place for lonely men tolive; the streets are deprived of pedestrians, while cars endlesslyshoot by on the interstate highway. The skies are crystal-clear, butthe architecture seems to be deliberately designed to shut out as muchdaylight as possible. Sean McElwee's cinematography sums up theprotagonists' lives through a clever use of framing; on severaloccasions their profiles are seen at the extreme left or right of theframe looking desolately at the landscape stretching endlessly beforethem. Even when they try to communicate, they are verbally challenged:what is not said is more significant than what is said. The narrativeof THIS IS MARTIN BONNER unfolds at a slow pace, but the film remains apenetrating study of life in an impersonal city.
Reviewed byzif ofozVote: 7/10/10
This fine little flick is a quick drive-by look at or into a briefmoment in another persons life.
We never get a full background on any of the characters because thestory just starts and then ends. What happens in between is one man,Bonner, driven to help others and never fully knowing if his effortshave actually helped.
And another man,Travis, needing help and not fully knowing if he iscapable of meeting its' challenges. He needs help due to his past! Hisdaughter has a brief visit which only accentuates Travis's insecurity.
I'm only giving seven stars because I don't feel enough character wasgiven to Bonner to have just that name in the title. Travis actuallyplays the major role.
Reviewed bynootch23Vote: 6/10/10
I came into this film expecting a character driven story without muchaction and that is exactly what I got. Overall, I liked the film. Eachcharacter's back story helped guide the audience into understandingwhat was currently going on. The characters are so well explained thatI was able to relate to them and empathize with them. Travis is such aheartbreaking character that you almost feel relieved Martin comesalong into his life. I can't leave out that beautiful 360 degree panthe camera takes in the hotel parking lot. Really effective method tohelp put yourself into the character's position of confusion and beingat a crossroads, not knowing where to go or how to proceed. The onlything that left me a little unsatisfied with the story was that it kindof felt the relationship between Martin and Travis was simply one way.I don't feel Travis' character gave anything to Martin's character.That was the only thing I had against the film. Paul Eenhoorn andRichmond Arquette gave exquisite performances. Pretty decent film andcan't wait to see how this director continues to develop as hecontinues to make movies.
Martin Bonner has just moved to Nevada from the East Coast, leaving behind his two adult children and a life he spent more than two decades building. 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. It's Martin's first job in two years and he's recently declared bankruptcy. At the same time, Travis Holloway, a prisoner in the program, is being released after serving twelve years. Sent back into the world with nothing, Travis also finds life in Reno difficult to adjust to, despite the help from his program sponsor, Steve Helms. The stories of Martin and Travis slowly converge, as the two men meet and find that they have much in common, not the least of which is an unspoken need for encouragement and support. Their unlikely friendship blossoms but is put to the test when Travis betrays Martin's trust in order to reunite with his estranged daughter.