Fran Kranz, Adam Goldberg, Nicky Whelan
There is always something to be said for online media. I will be one of the first to admit that several Netflix only properties have turned out awesome. And more than that, they have a rather decent track record of providing quality properties. But every company has downfalls. Every company missteps.
Rebirth, the new Netflix produced thriller starring Franz Kranz and Adam Goldberg is not a misstep. But it’s not an accomplishment either. What is strange about the new film from The Devil’s Hand writer Karl Mueller is that while you may enjoy the film going through, the journey is the key. Because the payoff, or lack thereof, may leave you kind of conflicted.
The story itself sounds nice enough. Rebirth tells about a mild mannered man named Kyle (Kranz) who, after being surprised by his old college friend Zack (Goldberg), is invited to attend a renewal weekend seminar called Rebirth. But once into Rebirth, he finds that it is much less motivational, and much more seductive, psychotic, and most importantly violent.
Look, the story makes for a nice premise. It is somewhat predictable but played the right way this could end up helping the film instead of hurting it. The problem is while the comedic, dramatic, and thriller elements are weaved together nicely, not a single one of the elements works well enough on its own to stand. There are plenty of moments that make you laugh, and several that might leave you confused, but all the details are fairly predictable and it really can’t capture a thrilling feeling. It tried very hard to get there, with nice settings and some really good acting, but it just doesn’t get where it needs to.
And this is not say there isn’t some good bones here. At its heart, it really is, and I mean this, the groundwork for a really poignant look at our society and the “down with the machine” face of many of our “leaders.” More than that, the whole leaves a great look at the twitter generation and how gullible they really could be. Not only that, but the dialogue is so inquisitive and really will leave you thinking if nothing else.
But it doesn’t commit. It makes half-accusations and in the end, kind of backs off its commentary in favor of a conclusion that will make the whole thing so far from believable that you just can’t get behind it.
Now, you actually might still like this film and I can’t stress it enough. The acting is superb and Franz, who’s big role in The Cabin in the Woods as Marty might have left him typecast, really plays the straight man well. Not only that, but Goldberg is terrifyingly scary as Zack. I seriously mean that. I can definitely get behind the talent here.
But as far as everything else, it lags.
Overall, I’d say give it a chance. While it’s not going to win any awards, it’s not the most terrible way to spend an hour and forty-one minutes. There is some genuine intrigue at the base, and frankly, had it been a television show able to go farther, I think it really could have gone somewhere. But there just wasn’t enough time and care spend to elevate this film to epic levels. As a result, it leaves you with just a “eh” feeling. Not terrible, not great, but enjoyable.
Nice story bones
Doesn't go through with its convictions
Leaves you a better conclusion