Film - Redistributors

Before it heads for the film festivals this summer, Steve Taylor-Bryant leaks a review of  indie film Redistributors...

The first thing to remember before watching a film like this is that whistleblowing isn't a glamorous act. It's not some computer genius hacking into a complicated archive, most of the time it is a noble Everyman that just walks out of the front door with information. Chelsea Manning walked out with a Lady Gaga CD containing what would become the war logs, with Edward Snowden it was a memory card, and way back in the mists of time Daniel Elsberg photocopied the Pentagon Papers. This is important to know, as it means any story of whistleblowers or leakers will be based on a character rather than some CGI rendition of a highly technical act and, with Redistributors, it is firmly about characters.

Writing wise, Adrian Tanner has got the story just about spot on. It is a simple but effective premise, an employee of a PR firm, Liz (Alexandra Evans), is basically stitched up by a colleague, Emmanuel (Daniel Goode), to make it look like she has leaked sensitive information that could scupper a large takeover deal for a firm that specialises in military supplies. Once being chased for the leak by the evil boss, Nathan (James Allen), Liz seeks help from her socialist father Harry (Jeff Rawle) and hacktivist brother Ben (Robert Boulton). Liz breaks back into her firm and steals a USB stick that contains a video with the firm’s boss Rupert (Tim Bentinck) admitting to camera that his firm were corrupt and knew the product they were supplying to the armed forces was shoddy and not fit for purpose. During the video Rupert also gives verbal directions for hackers to make their way into the company servers. Ben's hacktivism group is headed by a Julian Assange type character, Michael Manning (Alastair Mackenzie) who plans to go live across the Internet with the video. Nathan has his ex special forces henchmen chasing down Liz and, when they threaten the life of Harry, Liz decides enough is enough and tries to get the video back from Manning, who is killed during the transaction. Eventually Liz manages to get Rupert, hidden away by Nathan in a secure hospital, to make another video and Nathan meets a brutal end at the hands of his own guard leaving Liz to publish the film, the firm to crumble, and Liz free to join the Redistributors group.

It really is a very traditional cat and mouse story but is played out on screen by a superb small cast who bring real depth and emotion to their respective characters. Liz, and her struggles with what's right and wrong, shows what many deal with when it comes to the morality of a leak and, with the added threat to not just her life but those of her loved ones, Evans shows herself to be a highly watchable rising star who should go on to a strong career off the back of Redistributors. Other new faces to me in Robert Boulton and James Allen impress alongside some more famous stars in the always reliable Jeff Rawle (Drop the Dead Donkey) and the rather subtle yet spectacular Alastair Mackenzie (Monarch of the Glen).

Tanner directs his project with all the care you might expect a writer to show, letting various camera styles enhance the story, from facial close ups to shaky PoV during action scenes, and the edit is flawless, allowing the pace to quicken and drop as necessary. Leaking and whistleblowing is a touchy subject in our modern world and I know fine people on both sides of the argument but all of them could watch Redistributors and enjoy it due to the emotion and characters rather than the subject matter. Expect big things from Evans in the future and I hope someone with some real power within the film industry gives Tanner a project as he deserves more recognition than I feel he's getting at the moment.

Image - IMDb
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