Starring: Paul Eenhorn, Richmond Arquette, Demetrius Grosse, Tom Plunkett, Robert Longstreet
Directed by: Chad Hartigan
Synopsis: Martin Bonner has just moved to Nevada from the East Coast, leaving behind his two adult children and a life he spent more than two decades building.
The thing that made me really like this movie could also be it’s major flaw. Everything and everyone is just so damned nice! So nice in fact, that there really is no conflict in this at all. Nothing that raises the drama to any real level. Personally, I like a character study so I had no problems at all, but I imagine your average cinema goer would feel fairly bored by the end of the films run time (which, to be fair is only 86 minutes).
Martin Bonner is an Australian who has moved, following a divorce and change of job, to Reno, Nevada. He is working in a prison program, offering support to recently released convicts. His first assignment is to pick up Travis, just released after a twelve stretch. The two men hit it off and start a friendship of sorts, which is rather touching.
Between this we get glimpses in to both men’s lives. Despite the difference in their situations on the surface, they are both in fairly similar situations. They are both ‘new’ to the area, they are alone, they have grown up children. As a result a bond forms between them, and a mutual respect.
Martin Bonner is, quite frankly, the nicest man who exists in film I think. He offers to drive Travis anywhere, pays for lunch, referees girls soccer matches, goes speed dating, listens to tapes of his old rock band Kopywrite. I he talks lovingly on the phone to his daughter, and leaves hundreds of messages for his son (who we suspect is avoiding him) telling him he loves him and is proud of him.
The film won’t be for everyone because of the lack of drama. This is a real ‘slice of life’ type movie that focuses on the two lead characters and little else. Don’t expect any great action or confrontation to rear it’s head, because you will be disappointed. But if you want to watch a heart warming film about real people you could do worse than give This is Martin Bonner a shot.
You can also check out my Q&A with director Chad Hartigan here.