John (Wynn Reichert) is in the midst of a separation with his wife Laurie (Susan Miller). While the divorce is still in process, the couple share custody of their daughter Erin (Kylie Angelica) and it is more than apparent that John is not doing such a hot job of fulfilling his duties as a parent. One night, while dropping Erin off to Laurie at a gas station, John witnesses Laurie’s murder at the hands of a robber fleeing the gas station. Despite his shock, however, John makes note of certain details about the fleeing robber, including the getaway vehicle. Details that John does not reveal to the detective (Sam Dalton) investigating the crime, nor his family, as he begins to pursue his own investigation into that evening.
Chase Kuertz’s short film In Aggression does a good job of masking its narrative to protect against too much predictability or lack of mystery. For much of the film, we don’t entirely know why John is keeping information regarding his wife’s killer from the cops. Was it truly a tragic accident, or something else? Regardless, what does John ultimately plan on doing with what he knows, or thinks he knows, due to his own investigation?
The final question is what gets addressed before the film wraps up, so I’m not about to reveal that here, only that it both is and isn’t what you would expect to happen. Cryptic? Yeah, but the ambiguity comes mostly from the short, not from me trying to be cute.
In Aggression looks good and presents a layered tale in a simple enough, yet high quality, fashion. It’s mostly an opportunity for Wynn Reichert to showcase his acting chops, and he continues to impress. Arguably the majority of the ambiguity of the film might not just be in the narrative itself, but in the subtle, conflicted layers of Reichert’s performance; this is meant as a compliment to not just Reichert’s skills, but also those of director Kuertz for knowing when to let things breathe.
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