Akidnapping caper set in the Oregon wilderness, "Indemnity" is an ambitious but uneven effort that gets bogged down in plot twists and stiff dialogue. Though Michael Trent, in his freshman outing, shows a few directorial flourishes , the pic could use significant recutting and story streamlining before any further public exposure.

Akidnapping caper set in the Oregon wilderness, “Indemnity” is an ambitious but uneven effort that gets bogged down in plot twists and stiff dialogue. Though Michael Trent, in his freshman outing, shows a few directorial flourishes , the pic could use significant recutting and story streamlining before any further public exposure.

Pic’s opening minutes are its finest: A jump-cut series of seemingly disparate closeups — a boy’s face, scattered personal ads, a car tire screeching away — are connected through the cryptic voiceover of an unidentified speaker. This powerful, Godard-inflected sequence makes what follows pale by comparison.

Seven kidnappers are holding the boy hostage in their mountain hideout, as they are convinced he is in line for a $ 2 million inheritance. But events do not go as planned, the boy isn’t who they thought he was, and there’s at least one mole among them.

Distractingly, time seems alternately to expand and contract in “Indemnity.” The middle section feels overlong and is lacking in suspense, partly because it has been reserved for character exposition. By contrast, the hasty ending feels choppy and tacked on, offering a denouement that is as much of a mystery as the plot it was supposed to have explained.

Among the ensemble cast, Trent and Alan Altshuld lend needed credibility and humor.

Indemnity

(SUSPENSE DRAMA)

Production

A Little Engine Pictures presentation. Produced by Leslee Scallon. Directed by Michael Trent. Screenplay, Trent, Leslee Scallon.

Crew

Camera (Foto-Kem color), Shana Hagan; editor, Jeannette Christensen; music, Craig Victor Fenter; art directors, Tiffany Hokanson, Amy Harrison; costume designer, Jessica Sitomer; sound, Dana Kopetzky; associate producer, Tim Byron Owen; assistant director, Paul J.M. Bogh. Reviewed at Dances With Films Festival of the Unknowns, Santa Monica, July 25, 1998. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

BJ ..... Michael Trent Brit ..... Jessica Sitomer Elvis ..... Colin MacDonald Lindy ..... Alan Altshuld Mick ..... Gary Lee Garton Raymond ..... Michael Sidney Russ ..... Jock MacDonald Sean ..... Leslee Scallon
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