Rebirth (2016) Review

“… does a great job of maintaining tension and mystery throughout.”

Last night I watched the film Rebirth and I quickly came to realize that writing about it would prove challenging. Much like many other films that have come out over the years Rebirth is a movie that essentially has to be watched without knowing anything else about it. With that in mind, I’m going to tell you that if you enjoy films that fit into the psychological thriller genre, then stop reading this and go watch Rebirth. With that out of the way, I’m going to try my best to review the film without spoiling any major plot points, but just know that with movies like Rebirth practically everything is a spoiler.

Rebirth is a film about a man, Kyle, who lives an extraordinarily boring life who gets visited by his old college friend, Zack. Zack tries to get Kyle to agree to go out with him on Saturday to escape from his mundane lifestyle, but he refuses to tell him specifically where the pair will be going. Kyle ends up indulging and discovers that the “outing” that Zack had planned for him is a really weird, cult-like, self help group.

What I love about Rebirth is the fact that the film stays suspenseful throughout its entirety. This is accomplished in many ways, all of which are effective. Rebirth also does a great job of subverting “rules” that you assume are in place for a film like Rebirth (I apologize that this is really vague, but I can’t say much more without ruining the film). One thing that struck me about Rebirth was the dialogue; more specifically that the dialogue was infuriating. When Kyle gets to this location, everyone is essentially trained to dodge questions. This creates a very frustrating dialogue between Kyle and whoever else he is speaking to because, much like children, they essentially just repeat your question back to you. This was going to be a negative point until I realized that the film used this to put us in the mindset of Kyle. Much like we are getting frustrated that the dialogue is going nowhere, so is Kyle; this allows us to connect with the character on a deeper level. As the film goes on the tension builds and builds and eventually culminates into a reveal that is pretty fucking great. That being said, the very end of the film lost me completely. It’s not that I don’t understand what happened, it’s just that there are two very different possibilities, but both are just as likely. This is difficult to discuss so let’s get into technical aspects.

The film is led by Kyle, of course, but there are also many other characters throughout the film who do amazing jobs. This again adds to the mystery of the movie because you can never really get a read on any of the characters that are onscreen. Kyle is the man who is our portal into this story, and the reason the film is so effective is because of Fran Kranz’s acting. Throughout the film Kyle has to exhibit a range of emotions and Fran Kranz seemingly does that with ease. Rebirth also stars that guy from that thing that one time (Adam Goldberg) who does a great job as Kyle’s friend Zack. Finally the score was the icing on the cake for Rebirth. A very unintrusive sound that did a great job of building tension, and also reminded me of the score of Birdman which was great.

Ultimately, Rebirth is a movie that should be watched if you enjoy thrillers because it does a great job of maintaining tension and mystery throughout.

I give Rebirth a B.

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