SXSW Review: THE RAID: REDEMPTION

Rating: A

THE RAID: REDEMPTION’ screened at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival and won the People’s Choice Award. It was also at the Sundance Film Festival this year, followed by the Dublin Film Festival where it won the Audience Award and the Dublin Film Critics Award for Best Film.

During the SXSW Film Festival this month, ‘THE RAID: REDEMPTION’ screened in Festival Favorites category at the Paramount Theater. The film opened theatrically in New Yorkand Los Angeleson March 23rd and for those Austin film fans who missed it during SXSW, it will open Austin on March 30th.

To say this film by writer/director Gareth Evans is an “action” film is not doing it any justice at all. This crime drama has a story at its core and the action is riveting. It is not an easy film to watch because of all the violence, but then, trying to remove a drug lord from a rundown apartment block he completely controls is going to be met with violence.

Rama (Iko Uwais) is a member of a special – forces team with said assignment. Early on in the film, it is evident members of the team are not feeling quite as confident as they should be for such a feat. The sanctuary for killers, gangs, rapists and thieves is a well known one, but the viewer soon sees there is more going on than meets the eye. Why do the drug lord and his minions think they cannot be touched by the police? There are so many cast members in the film aside from the lead, Uwais, including Anada George and Ray Sahetapy. Many of the cast do not say a word in the film; physical force is their language and their bodies are their weapons alone, even if they are not carrying a machete, gun or other items. . 

It is possible real fans of this genre have already read every review there is out there about ‘THE RAID: REDEMPTION,’ but it will not be upon my shoulders to give away the details and spoil the film forAustin and other viewers. Evans has crafted a story that keeps the viewer engaged and keeps the eyes glued to the screen despite the violence for 101 minutes. The spotter in the building alerts others, so it is up to Rama and his team to fight their way through every floor, every room to survive and complete their mission. Rama is dedicated to his team, but he has a willingness and determination to go through the bloody ordeal above and beyond his call of duty.

ABOUT GARETH EVANS:

Welsh born writer/director Gareth Huw Evans began his filmmaking career in 2006 with his feature film debut Footsteps, released in the US through extreme cinema label Unearthed Films in 2007.

Following up on Footsteps, he was hired to direct a documentary for Christine Hakim Films inIndonesiaentitled ‘LAND OF MOVING SHADOWS: THE MYSTIC ARTS OF INDONESIA, PENCAK SILAT’.  The documentary was planned as one part of a five-episode series covering the cultural heritage ofIndonesia.  With his particular episode revolving around Silat, the production would introduce to him the many traditions and cultural themes that made up his second feature, ‘MERENTAU’, as well as its lead actor Iko Uwais. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia since 2008, Gareth wrote, edited and directed ‘MERENTAU’ with the idea of bringing the Indonesian martial art of Silat to international attention. With a successful string of film festival screenings, Merantau went on to be selected as the closing film of PIFAN 2009 (Puchon International Festival of Fantastic Films), was the winner of an Audience Choice Award at Fantastic Fest (Austin, Texas) and was awarded Best Film at 2010’s inaugural ActionFest in North Carolina.

THE RAID marks the 2nd collaboration of director Gareth Huw Evans and star Iko Uwais. The project is planned as the first of a trilogy of films surrounding its main character, Rama, to be seen next in the undercover cop / gangster sequel BERANDAL.

 

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