SXSW 2021 Review: Reklaw

Year: 2021

Runtime: 12 minutes

Director: Polaris Banks

Writer: Polaris Banks

Actors:  Lance Henriksen, Tasha Guevara, Scott Allen Perry, Clara Francesca, Polaris Banks, Bill Stinchcomb, Michael Cortez, Michael Schnick

By Joan Amenn

This short film was nominated for a SXSW Grand Jury Award in the Midnight Shorts category. Polaris Banks went all in to bring “Reklaw” (2021) to the screen. Years of financial struggle and multitasking as writer, director, set designer, as well as joining the cast shows just how dedicated he was to his story of slightly off kilter justice.

Leading that cast is the inimitable Lance Henriksen as Lott. He seems to be the director of a strange group of vigilantes who try to help those who have broken the law from actually serving any jail time for those crimes. It’s an interesting premise that raises questions of mercy and fairness in society’s justice system. The script is darky funny and gives Henriksen the opportunity to deliver a great monologue which he nails to perfection. The supporting cast that make up his not so merry band are very effective, especially Mr. Banks himself. Tasha Guevara is outstanding as a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her performance makes “Reklaw” work as a homage to film noir, even if it is quirkier than Raymond Chandler ever envisioned. Banks has a nice sense of timing in how he has his characters react to one another to build up the tension leading up to the final scene.

“Reklaw” could easily be expanded to fill out the questions that are hinted at but not fully answered in its twelve-minute runtime. Banks seems to know exactly where he wants to take it and will hopefully get his chance to run even farther with his concept. The “Reklaw” gang may not be the ones to call when you are in trouble, but it would be fun to watch them take on crime some more.

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