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This Is Martin Bonner 2013

R
3.4 out of 5 stars (26) IMDb 6.6/10

In this Sundance Award Winning film, two men each search in their quiet solitude to begin a new life amidst an unspoken need for encouragement and support.

Starring:
Paul Eenhoorn, Demetrius Grosse
Runtime:
1 hour, 22 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2013
Format: DVD
"This Is Martin Bonner" (2913 release; 83 min.) brings the story of Martin Bonner (played by Paul Eenhorn), an Australian native but long-time US resident who recently has taken a job in Reno, NV, helping inmates at the Northern Nevada Correctional Facility to prepare for life back on the outside. By happenstance, Bonner gets to know Travis Holloway (played by Richmond Arquette), who was just released after a 12 year stint (we only learn much later what for). Both men being new to the area, they come to rely on each other for moral support. As the movie unfolds, we learn more of the personal background of each. To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is one of those "little movies that could", and delivers a deeply moving story of two men trying to adjust to new circumstances. "This Is Martin Bonner" moves at snail's pace, and I mean that as a compliment. Check out the scene in which Travis finally meets up with his now 24 yr. old daughter Diana (played by Sam Buchanan) for the first time since his incarceration 12 years ago. It is for me the pivotal scene in the movie. The performances are ace throughout, although I will see that I was very much taken by Sam Buchanan's performance (she has maybe 15 minutes of screen time, but sure makes the most of it). Finally, kudos as well to writer-director Chad Hartigan, who has delivered nothing short of a gem. But what is with the movie title? This movie is as much about Travis Holloway as it is about Martin Bonner, and so on that account it could've just as easily have been called "This Is Travis Holloway".
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Format: Amazon Video
THIS IS MARTIN BONNER focuses on the lives of two misfits trying to
adjust to a new life in the desert city of Reno, Navada. Australian
émigré Martin (Paul Eenhoorn) tries to adjust to life as a volunteer in
a local jail after having experienced a crisis of faith followed by
long-term unemployment. Travis Holloway (Richmond Arquette) is released
from the same jail, and attempts to forge a new life outside by living
in a seedy motel and working as a car park attendant. Both men have
grown-up children: Martin communicates mostly by phone, while Travis'
daughter Diana (Sam Buchanan) hasn't seen her father since he went to
prison twelve years previously. When father and daughter do meet, the
conversation remains awkward, to say the least. Chad Hartigan's
low-budget drama focuses on the loneliness of the two protagonists'
lives as they spend their evenings in nondescript rooms, roam the
streets either on foot, in the car or on the bus, and try to connect
with people around them. Reno is hardly the place for lonely men to
live; the streets are deprived of pedestrians, while cars endlessly
shoot by on the interstate highway. The skies are crystal-clear, but
the architecture seems to be deliberately designed to shut out as much
daylight as possible. Sean McElwee's cinematography sums up the
protagonists' lives through a clever use of framing; on several
occasions their profiles are seen at the extreme left or right of the
frame looking desolately at the landscape stretching endlessly before
them. Even when they try to communicate, they are verbally challenged:
what is not said is more significant than what is said. The narrative
of THIS IS MARTIN BONNER unfolds at a slow pace, but the film remains a
penetrating study of life in an impersonal city.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This movie held my attention however; the actors were good but it was seriously disappointing because it had no climax to the movie. It seems that in the mist of the story, it ended. This made me upset and my time had been wasted.
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I don't have a lot of time to write a huge review, but I loved this movie. I loved it in it's very un-Hollywood way of being uncomfortable, being real, being raw. The acting is really super. Richmond Arquette should do more movies. He's really good. The other reviewers can talk to the storyline more, so I don't need to repeat it, but I love the simple humanness of this movie and how it touched me. So good.
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Format: DVD
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

RATING: 2.5 out of 5.0

This is Chris Hartigan's second feature, mainly shot in Reno, Nevada. It's a low key story about Australian native Martin Bonner, a volunteer counselor for a Christian-based group who has a mentoring program to rehabilitate convicts. Ironically, one of the most powerful scenes in the film is right at the beginning, when Bonner and his mentor-supervisor, interview an angry black inmate, to consider him for their program. The impatient, arrogant inmate disparages their attempt to help him and declines to participate.

We're then introduced to another inmate, Travis, who decides to join the Christian group--he's been incarcerated for over ten years for a DWI vehicular manslaughter. Bonner meets with Travis first but informs him that he's just the coordinator for the program, and that he's actually assigned to a regular mentor. Bonner gives Travis his card and tells him to call him anytime if he needs help.

Travis is set up at a motel and has dinner with his regular mentor and his wife. There's a good scene in the church where we get a sense that Travis is not too excited by all the Christian 'devotion'. Later that's confirmed when he has lunch with Bonner and confesses that his mentor's faith has no meaning to him. Bonner reciprocates by confessing that he too, lost 'faith' in the church a couple of years ago, after working for a Christian organization for quite some time.

Bonner is the far better developed character than Travis. Hartigan fleshes out Bonner a bit by depicting his relationship with a daughter and son. The daughter is far away in Maryland, married with child, and Bonner often talks to her on the phone. The son is an artist but never returns his father's phone calls.
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