Film Review: Clay’s Redemption

Director Carlos Boellinger calls Clay’s Redemption is an “unapologetic midnight movie”. Indeed, it would be fun to end a late night with this neon-drenched action noir fantasy. Shot in the darkest corners of London, Boellinger’s debut feature evokes Blade RunnerThe Matrix, and Cinemax’s American Gods with its lively tale of a Sleeve Walker (a sort of body-hopper) called Clay who helps a group of god-like immortals defeat a power-hungry demon. In exchange, he will earn his freedom and be settle into his final form. 

Boellinger wrote the dialogue-light script with Ivo Alexander. A couple of paragraphs on a black screen set the scene for the story. There are 9 living gods who are fighting amongst themselves for the all the power, Highlander-style. Meanwhile, a demon hunts them to steal their power for its own. Sleeve Walkers are convicts forced into indentured servitude, swapping bodies whenever their old ones wear out. When the story kicks off, we meet Clay (Akie Kotabe, TVs The Man in the High Castle), strolling around town in his latest body rental. A couple of stylish immortals hire him for one last job. If he can manage to transport an important woman to safety, he can earn his freedom in a body to call his own. Of course, the enemies are powerful and lurk around every corner, and everyone wants to get their hands on the mysteriously mute Maya (played by UK musician, Nuuxs). 

The best thing this film has going for it is the cinematography, also done by Boellinger. Clay’s Redemption was shot guerilla style around London, using only available light. This is clearly a low-budget project, but the seams are well hidden in the visuals. Boellinger has a real eye for composition akin to Nicolas Winding Refn’s stunning, but otherwise lackluster Only God Forgives. It doesn’t hurt that every performer looks like a supermodel. Among those who consulted on the look of the film were production designer Tony Noble (Moon) and designer Charli Cohen.

The lively score, composed by London-based duo TwoTwentyTwo, keeps the viewer engaged, but the film shines during the fight sequences. Kotabe steps out of his CIA IT guy 

pigeon hole, into that of formidable leading action man. All-in-all, Clay’s Redemption isn’t an instant classic, but it’s a good showcase for the talents of many involved. If you enjoy cool fight choreography in visually arresting locales, there’s something for you here. 


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