Repeat (2021) – Film Review
Director: Richard Miller
Cast: Tom England, Charlotte Ritchie, Nina Wadia
By @Roger Crow
How much would we love to talk to those people we’ve lost? Just to tell that late person goodbye, or how much we loved them before the opportunity was snatched away from us?
Of course that universal feeling has been the basis for no end of movies over the years, and when there’s a gadget available for facilitating a connection between now and then, you can usually bet there’s a mystery attached.
One key rule for these sorts of movies is such gadgets only give protagonists short bursts of information and usually spark out at a key moment. There’s a bad signal, it’s run out of juice, a valve has popped. You get the idea.
But for all the familiar tropes of Repeat, a touch of Frequency here, a dash of White Noise there, it’s still a pretty compelling watch.
The cast are so solid. Tom England gives a fine turn as Ryan Moore, the boffin dabbling with a device which is supposed to contact the dead. However, his gadget, which looks like a basic vlogging ring light connected to a smoking box which uses DNA as a sort of fuel, isn’t quite powerful to operate for more than a few seconds. It’s powered by liquid stuff the hero nicks from work.
It helps that Charlotte Ritchie is on board as Emily Moore, helping sell the premise with impressive conviction. Her character’s fractured relationship with the obsessed boffin means their marriage is on the rocks, and central to the entire story is the disappearance of their daughter, Sam. She vanished one day after school, and is believed to have been abducted by a mystery man. But who is he, and where is she? Well, all eventually becomes clear with a third act which attempts to tie all the loose ends together.
Like Carl Strathie’s missing youngster drama Dark Encounter, there are some flashes of brilliance here. The pay-off has that dreamy quality of M Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, and writer/director Richard Miller does a fine job with a limited budget.
Though Repeat could have done with more levity, it’s still well worth a look.