Brief Reunion: Facebook is a Portal to Hell

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Brief Reunion
Directed by John Daschbach
Opens January 18, Quad Cinema

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For those who still haven't yet figured it out, Facebook is a portal to hell. That's the strongest takeaway from writer-director John Daschbach's Brief Reunion, a well-acted but rather slack drama in which a figure from our hero's past reappears in his life with sinister motives. Aaron (Joel de la Fuente) is a successful businessman living in a picturesque New England enclave with his wife, Lea (Alexie Gilmore), when old college acquaintance Teddy (Scott Shepherd) appears with dark secrets in tow, having tracked down Aaron through Facebook. Although he initially seems to want nothing more than to reconnect, soon Teddy is slowly doling out tidbits from yesteryear, with a less-than-friendly motive slowly emerging until Aaron finally has to take action. The cast is uniformly fine, but Daschbach (in his duties as both screenwriter and director) fails to generate real tension or clear up plot conundrums as Aaron digs himself into a hole trying to hold on to the life he has built. (One question: Why did Aaron hide that former girlfriend from his wife?) Beautifully filmed but written without the psychological depth or sleight of hand of the best thrillers, Brief Reunion never sparks the tension that Teddy, his actions, and the information he's holding over Aaron's head should.

 
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