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By Bobby LePire | November 14, 2021

To understand why the sci-fi drama Repeat is titled thusly, one must stick with it until the gripping conclusion. Written by Richard Miller, who co-directs with Grant Archer, the film follows cognitive psychologist Ryan (Tom England), whose life is in shambles after his daughter, Sam (Ellila-Jean Wood), goes missing. His relationship with his wife, Emily (Charlotte Ritchie), is in tatters, and his work as a professor is suffering.

Ryan’s obsession with figuring out Sam’s unsolved disappearance manifests itself in a machine he’s designed to talk to the dead. He proves his device’s worth at various talks and conferences, as several volunteers speak to their deceased loved ones. But, he cannot contact Sam, which gives both him and Emily hope that she’s alive. However, as Ryan pieces more and more parts of that fateful day together, he uncovers a horrific, shocking truth.

The only flaw in Repeat is its title, as it is a bit of a spoiler. Anyone watching very closely will be slightly ahead of the story, as the name means something very specific in context. But, that barely even counts as an issue, as it does not actively take away from the power of the narrative or the outstanding performances. Miller and Archer masterfully weave through the mystery of the present day and flashbacks to when Sam went missing while balancing strong visuals and pitch-perfect tone. It’s a remarkable achievement on every level.

Ryan’s obsession with figuring out Sam’s unsolved disappearance manifests itself in a machine he’s designed to talk to the dead.”

During their first few scenes together, I was not entirely sold on England and Ritchie as a couple. It’s unclear why things are strained between them, so their frustrations don’t make sense. But, as the narrative briskly moves forward, and we see more of their happy times and understand how Sam’s disappearance affected both of them, the actors embody their respective roles beautifully. Ellila-Jean Wood is not as prominent, as Sam is seen in flashbacks, though she plays wonderfully off of both her onscreen parents. Happily, the three leads are bolstered by a fantastic supporting cast.

The machine at the center of Repeat is an excellent example of wisely using the resources available. It’s not some over-the-top, massive piece of machinery meant to be a showstopper. Rather, it is realistic looking, and the light projection it emits is a simple though thoroughly effective special effect. Any aspiring filmmaker looking for ways to maximize what they have could take some lessons from Miller and Archer.

As great as the production design, direction, and acting are, the screenplay is the absolute best element of the entire production. Every character has a strong motivation, and their actions make total sense throughout. In addition, the way the story wraps around itself is not only intriguing but emotionally stunning, as the last few minutes are a nonstop thrill ride that pays off everything previously set up.

Repeat is flawless from top to bottom. The acting is amazing, the direction is confident and bold, and the writing is beyond brilliant. I implore everyone to check it out as soon as possible while I eagerly await Archer and Miller’s next outing. I have no doubt it’ll be something special to behold.

Repeat (2021)

Directed: Richard Miller, Grant Archer

Written: Richard Miller

Starring: Tom England, Charlotte Ritchie, Ellila-Jean Wood, Nina Wadia, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

Repeat Image

"…an excellent example of wisely using the resources available."

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