June 28, 2019 The Refuge (Movie Review)
Crime always has risks and dangers. There is no such thing as the perfect heist as unforeseen complications often arise in this dangerous profession that changes everything. This is the tale in the new Action Thriller The Refuge hitting theaters on Friday, June 28th through KS Pictures.
Written, directed, and starring Keith Sutliff (Suitcase City 2015, The Mason Brothers 2017) as Marcus, a getaway driver/gun for hire in Los Angeles. He is quiet and mostly keeps to himself, but his reputation for being the best at what he does keeps him busy with different dangerous jobs. Meanwhile, Frank (Julien Cesario: Close Range 2015, The Mason Brothers 2017), one of his former employers, trusts him enough to hire him for another job. This one is to take a large sum of money from a casino heist that the debt to Frank was never paid and needs to be rectified.
In exchange, Marcus employs the help of an old friend and colleague, Watts (Matthew Webb: 127 Hours 2010, Archangel Alpha 2016), to aid in pulling off the job. The job should have been easy for the duo, but things go wrong very quickly. Marcus now finds himself on the wrong side of Frank and his other associates. He now has to decide just how far he will go in order to survive.
On paper, The Refuge sounds like an action-packed thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of the seat. Although, in reality, it is anything but that. The majority of the film, you are treated to simply watching Sutliff drive around Los Angeles presumably scoping out the building for his target with only a quirky ’80s noir soundtrack filling your ears. That in mind, while Sutliff is an attractive man, you will grow tired of staring at his jawline as the driving scenes are endless.
The only positive about this is the film style is quite beautiful, but even that becomes monotonous. With not much dialogue, and even less actual action, the interesting bits, like how the job went wrong and really the job itself, all happen off screen. Everything is explained in emotionless conversations between characters. While it does make sense that a guy like Marcus would be a man of few words, you suffer the consequences of his silence. In fact, you never fully get the opportunity to grasp what is happening or how dire the situation has become for the players as true to their characters; there is no emotional reaction to the words being spoken.
If the idea of watching someone drive around in silence with dark music playing sounds like a great time, then The Refuge will be the perfect film to watch. If action is desired, then this film should not be considered. A dialogue heavy film can work, but expression and passion must accompany the delivery. Classed as an Action and Thriller, sadly The Refuge never comes close to reaching that status. It is for these reasons that Cryptic Rock gives this film 1.5 out of 5 stars.