Reach Me (2014)

reachme_2014_poster
Reach Me (2014)
  • Time: 95 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: John Herzfeld
  • Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Lauren Cohan, Danny Trejo, Terry Crews, Kevin Connolly, Tom Sizemore

Storyline:

A motivational book written by a mysterious man quickly gains popularity, inspiring a group of people that includes a journalist, his editor, a former inmate, a hip-hop mogul, an actor and an undercover cop to re-evaluate their choices and decisions by confronting their fears in hopes of creating more positive lives.

One review

  • When it comes to ensemble cast films, it has been proven time and again, that even with star power, not every film is great. A successful example of a movie like this is Think Like a Man (2012). An exact opposite of this would be Movie 43 (2013), a film with an ensemble cast so large, it surprised everyone when it turned out to be one of the worst and most despised movies of the year according to many for several reasons. What’s interesting is that according to some, this is one of those movies that could ruin someone’s career. Is that really so? I do understand that this particular production is having a limited public release and was released digitally the same day of its public release (which isn’t a good sign). This film though isn’t by any means spectacular entertainment, but it does maintain a level of decent quality that should be acknowledged. Even with its flaws it is not the worst movie of the year, by far.

    The story is when a popular book called “Reach Me” of an anonymous writer under the guise as Teddy Raymond (Tom Berenger) takes the public by storm for its inspirational and self-motivating words. The audience will then be introduced to numerous other story threads revolving around other characters that are connected to the book in some way. Unfortunately, the writing, which is the most essential element, is the weakest. A probable reason why the writing wasn’t great was due to the running time. With only about an hour and half of time and more than three character threads, a lot of things have to be condensed. The problem being is that the separate story lines themselves have a few flaws. One flaw being that they are quick. Some scenes pertaining to a certain character thread last all of a minute and then transition over to another story line. It’s a bit disorienting when trying to focus on a character. For films like these, it’s understood that the focus cannot stay too long on a particular scenario but for only a minute feels slightly too quick to have it even register what just happened. Perhaps director John Herzfeld (who isn’t new to the job), should’ve consulted with editor Steven Cohen so that there was more time for these stories to breathe.

    Another issue that arises is that not every subplot in each segment is properly concluded. This feels a like a waste in some cases. There’s no point in adding it to the story if it will not be concluded. On top of that, several character motivations are left unclear and for those who want an explanation, will feel frustrated, I know I did. With that, some of the actions characters make can feel and look cliché, which doesn’t help of course. However, matching these flaws is a number of good points. For one, the ensemble cast is quite diverse. There are several actors from different genres combined into one, under this title. To name some is Kevin Connolly, Sylvester Stallone, Thomas Jane, Lauren Cohan, Kyra Sedgwick, Danny Aiello, David O’Hara, Nelly, Terry Crews and Omari Hardwick. Surprisingly, they all work well off each other. Many of the characters portrayed have charm and acceptable chemistry with their co-stars. This does lead to some believable dramatic and comedic moments through the film. It’s not always effective but at times it is.

    Coinciding with these “dramedy” elements is the score provided by Tree Adams. The score, which is sadly, unreleased, sounds very similar to that of Christopher Lennertz style of composition. This is good because the music appropriately matches the scenes, whether its organ, piano, sax and occasionally strings. There is no main theme and that’s also because it isn’t really a franchise to begin with. The cinematography provided by Vern Nobles is good too. There’s no particular style that Nobles heads for but he does get some very wide panning shots of various scenery and that gives a better idea to the audience of their location. However, the best aspect to this movie, is the message it wants to convey to its audience. That message is gathering the courage to move on no matter what your fear is. It’s this kind of life lesson that many people strive to hear from motivation speakers and it is important to understand. This is what the individual story lines work into the development of each character- reaching out to others. Unfortunately, with its negative responses and limited release its not going to be truly recognized. Again, it’s not fantastic but it is worth the time to see at least once.

    Its writing gets cliché at times with unclear character motivations, a few unfinished subplots and choppy editing but its not awful. The actors give charming performances with occasional laughs and heartfelt moments along with good-looking camera work, and appropriate music. Its best element is the “dream big philosophy” that it is based on to help inspire others.

    Points Earned –> 6:10

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