Absentia movie poster

Absentia (2011)

It’s been seven years since Tricia’s husband, Daniel, disappeared.  Now comes the last piece in her moving forward: having him legally declared dead.  But things may not prove that easy.

Tricia has spent seven years mourning Daniel, who simply vanished one day.  Even carrying another man’s baby, she can’t let go of her high school sweetheart.  When her sister comes to stay with her after – allegedly – getting her life back together, things just become more stressful.  Finally ready to take the next step, Daniel suddenly reappears – obviously in shock, malnourished, beaten and unable to say anything about where he’s been. The only thing that could possibly shatter Tricia’s world any more?  Losing him again.

This film, more than anything else does a profound job of capturing the lead character’s spirit in the tale.  A slow-paced tale whose pacing perfectly captures Tricia’s profound melancholy, the beginning drags at times but does it to great effect.  As Tricia’s sister comes to stay with her, the exchanges are forced, awkward and uncomfortable.  Eventually, you’re ready for the tale to just get on with it – much as Tricia wants to get on with her life, even though she knows what that means.    The pace picks up with Daniel’s return as the police and Tricia try to unravel what happened to him – along with the audience.  When he disappears again, the viewer – and Tricia, her sister and the police – is dumbfounded.

The movie makes it clear what’s happening but does a fine job of explaining why the characters can’t see it.  Everything is dull and understated.  The acting at times suffers from severe monotones and the sparse lighting and rough sound, but as a whole, they make the film seem that much more real.  It’s hard to make a movie (possibly) about monsters stealing people away to their own dark dimension and make it both plausible and relatable, but somehow this film manages it.

Stars: 4.5/5



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