CINEQUEST FILM FESTIVAL 2020 REVIEW! Is there a spot for forgiveness or compassion for even probably the most evil of individuals? Can a coronary heart be so chilly, making redemption unattainable? This query is examined in probably the most excessive circumstances in Alastair Newton Brown’s political thriller, Right here Be Dragons.
In 1993, the United Nations established the Worldwide Felony Tribunal for the previous Yugoslavia (ICTY). UN Brokers scoured Europe, apprehending warfare criminals who had dedicated the worst atrocities through the Yugoslav Wars. David Locke (Nathan Sapsford) was one such agent, and with the conclusion of the ICTY, the haggard Locke is confronted with the prospect of retirement. But, one thing troubling stirs inside him, making closure unattainable.
One night time, a determine from Locke’s previous seems within the particular person, Emir Ibrahimovic (Svetislav ‘Bule’ Goncic), a survivor of the warfare. Emir believes he is aware of the placement of an extended believed lifeless commander Ivan Novak (Vladimir Gvojic), now dwelling in Belgrade, Serbia. With the disapproval of his superiors, Locke turns into a lone ranger to A. find and confirm the identification of Novak, and B. apprehend Novak to face trial for his warfare crimes.
When in Belgrade, Locke befriends Novak’s spouse (a neighborhood lounge singer) and their son. It’s not lengthy earlier than he finds who he thinks is Novak and infiltrates a gathering Novak is main. The assembly is just not precisely what you suppose. Novak has turn into one thing of a self-help guru working with males by means of despair, nervousness, and PTSD. Locke is now conflicted about growing a friendship along with his spouse and son and utilizing them as bait.
“…confirm the identification of Novak, and…apprehend Novak to stand trial for his warfare crimes.”
Right here Be Dragons is just not your typical American political thriller. Primarily as a result of it’s not American, which is usually a blended bag. The story takes us out of the irritating world of U.S. politics and diplomacy and provides us a glimpse at how the remainder of the world tries to cease evil.
Additionally, as a result of it’s not an American thriller, Right here Be Dragons is a low-budget thriller, which implies it’s mild on motion. There are a couple of military-style standoffs involving weapons, however it could have been good to see a foot or automobile chase. The thrills are available in Locke’s intense undercover operation and the twist, turns, and double cross ultimately.
What Right here Be Dragons lacks in motion, it greater than makes up for posing an fascinating ethical dilemma. I’ve acquired to bop round it for spoiler causes, however can a brutal warfare felony ever discover redemption, and might victims discover forgiveness as effectively? These questions are all explored within the third act and answered in thriller trend. We stay in a world the place we classify our fellow residents as allies or evil, the place compassion has turn into passe and killing viable within the identify of justice.
Right here Be Dragons opens as an honest thriller and transfer us proper alongside to the ultimate ethical quandary that may have you ever fascinated by the place we’re heading as a species down the street.
Right here Be Dragons screened on the 2022 Cinequest Film Festival.