“The Righteous” Blu-Ray Review
By Dark Starr
When I put in the Blu-Ray release of "The Righteous" from Arrow Films, I wasn't sure what to expect from it based on the description. When I read "brooding," my mind screams "slow and boring." Well, this movie is a slow burn, but it's definitely not boring. It's billed as a supernatural thriller. I'm not sure if it qualifies as horror, although to my mind it probably does.
In some ways, this is a small film. It only has a few characters and it's very intimate in terms of its settings. The scope of the movie is very large in terms of implications. It's shot in black and white, which adds something for a movie like this, I think. It's not often that you can say a movie landing in the categories where this one lives is high art, but I'd say it applies to this film.
The basic set-up for the story centers around a couple (the husband of which is a former Catholic priest) who have lost their young adopted daughter. An unexpected visitor shows up at their door injured and they take him in to help him. His motivations and connections to the husband gradually become revealed. As they do the film gets darker and more menacing. The thing is, from the start there is a palpable feeling of dread to this movie. It just gains clarity and urgency as the movie continues. I won't be giving away any of those details uniting them, but let's say that they really came as shocking revelations on at least a couple occasions.
The performances here are all top-notch, but for me Mark O'Brien's performance as the man who shows up at their door really steals the show. That is made even more impressive when you learn that the whole project was his vision. He wrote the script and directed the movie. There are underlying themes here that relate to things like guilt and the consequences of our wrong-doings.
When watching this in the beginning, there is enough mystery and sense of something being a little "off" to really pull the viewer in. Once it gets really rolling, you'll be very glad you stuck around. I can't praise this film enough, really. It's one of the most effective and inventive movies I've seen in a while. The Arrow release includes a lot of interviews as bonus features, but honestly, the movie is prize enough. Those are mostly just icing on the cake.