Tacoma Image


By Bobby LePire | May 30, 2024

Tacoma is writer and director Jigeesh Magar’s sophomore effort and his first film in over a decade. It bills itself as a thriller, though in reality, it is far more of a drama. Knowing this before watching is crucial, as there are a number of scenes where the characters talk about what they are doing or discuss the moral implications of their project. While copious dialogue is not a bad thing, presuming it’s well-written, it is not exactly the most riveting of prospects. Does the science fiction drama work once expectations are properly adjusted, or is it a dull viewing experience?

Leo (Asher Deva) is an intelligent scientist with a single mission in mind. He’s using a pig named Tacoma to test a serum that will turn failing organs into healthy ones. He’s aided by The Woman (Aylya Marzolf), who encourages him and tells him that this must be for both of their sakes. But the man has hit a wall, and he cannot get around. Then, by sheer happenstance, his server at a local diner, Alejandra (Karrie Martin Lachney), glimpses at what’s working on and figures out the problem. After a bit of coaxing from Leo, Alejandra agrees to help.

But the illegal immigrant’s personal life is in disarray. Alejandra is assisting Leo so the serum can help her father, who uses a wheelchair. Unfortunately, the powerful but dying Gene (Eric Roberts) and his freeloading offspring Philip (Joseph Stromberg) get wind of what’s going on via John (James Ken Blackmon), a former lover of hers who is angry and jealous. Can Leo and Alejandra perfect the serum? Will Gene steal it to prolong his life of corruption and power?

Alejandra is assisting Leo so the serum can help her father…”

Let’s get this out of the way now. Tacoma may not meet everyone’s expectations as a thriller. In fact, as an example of that genre, it is terrible. It lacks the typical tension and suspense one rightfully expects. A bit of menace creeps in once Gene becomes more prominent, but that is not the same thing.

However, as a drama about grief, dealing with trauma and past demons, and the moral implications of scientific progress, the movie is very involving. Exactly who The Woman is and why Leo seems to do everything in his power to help her is interesting. Alejandra deals with her father’s health, her sister’s thoughtlessness, and being an illegal immigrant. These aspects are well-explored and give a lot of depth to the character. Leo and Alejandra’s interactions and discussions over how to proceed illuminate their motivations nicely. Their conversations involving the serum sound authentically enough like real science it is convincing (actual scientists feel free to disagree). It’s a slow burn that rewards patient viewers with its depth and character development.

Deva is compelling as the broken scientist hoping to fix his life the best way he can. Lachney walks the tightrope of scared and driven, which is her character ideally. Unsurprisingly, Roberts walks away with every scene he’s in. While primarily bedridden, he exudes power, anger, and determination. It’s an outstanding performance that makes the villain far more complex than the role is written.

Tacoma is an involving drama about two broken but smart people. The dialogue is compelling, and all the characters have a good amount of depth. But as a thriller — which is how the filmmaker describes the flick — it’s not good on any level. So, with adjusted expectations, this is a good watch with a strong cast.

For more information, visit the official Tacoma site.

Tacoma (2024)

Directed and Written: Jigeesh Magar

Starring: Asher Deva, Karrie Martin Lachney, Eric Roberts, Aylya Marzolf, Joseph Stromberg, James Ken Blackmon, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Tacoma Image

"…an involving drama..."

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