REVIEW: ‘Recurrence’ is Flawed From Top to Bottom

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Recurrence

In the third installment in the series, Recurrence sees now retired Detective Pipa in the middle of a murder investigation of a young native girl. Luisana Lopilato returns to the role of Pipa as the film drops on Netflix Wednesday, July 27th.

Directed by Alejandro MontielRecurrence finds Pipa right back in a situation she was trying to avoid. While trying to live a quiet life as a farmer and raise her son in peace, she is reluctantly convinced to pursue a murder investigation by her Aunt (Paulina García). Tensions within the town are at a breaking point, however, when the local tribes rebel against the corrupt police force. Which only makes Pipa’s job that much harder.

I love international content. Witnessing visual storytelling from perspectives outside of the US is usually such a joy because the cast and crew bring an entirely different background to inform their sense of the narrative. Recurrence, however, is not that but rather a predictable and badly executed story of an aged cop who’s seen some bad stuff trying to live out the rest of her life away from civilization. Pipa is a now retired veteran police detective from violent crimes who wants to raise her son in peace and is “too old for this shit,” to quote from Lethal Weapon. But as the trope goes, trouble manages to find a way onto her doorstep in a foreseeable call to action for the hero.

This kind of trope sells, there’s an abundance of examples to spout without breaking a sweat, but you have to have that foundation in place that grabs your attention. Sadly the film doesn’t have a compelling lead to root for, high stakes, villains you love to hate, or any great action. Recurrence was lacking in a majority of these areas. The biggest flaw of the entire film was that it was trying to accomplish too much, and it caused the main plot to be lost in a myriad of sub-plots that just muddy the overall message. Within the film’s two-hour run time, it throws a lot at you, and a good number of these things added no value to the main story but detracted from it.

This was made all the more complicated by the abrupt transition sequences between scenes that sometimes left me feeling whiplash. There were various times that either a sequence didn’t have enough time to breathe after what had been presented, before jumping to the next. Many times I was left feeling the editing had been spliced together in a rush or without much thought about how you move from A to B. From here, the story’s pace was completely thrown off as the story jumped from scene to scene.

It’s also a shame because Recurrence should have been able to boast some wonderful cinematography from the location that was used was so vastly different, and yet it was criminally underutilized.

The film also tried to overcompensate on the score to add to the tone within the scenes, but the direction through the use of the audio was never delivered. Audio within the film can be a powerful tool when used correctly, and knowing when to crank the dial up or down, is a skill in and of itself. For examples of this, do yourself a favor and watch Invisible Man. Within this film, the audio levels steal focus from the acting, and at times either felt out of sync with the tone of the shot, or it switched so abruptly it became jarring.

Recurrence, on first look, had the makings for something interesting, with a trope of the retired cop getting dragged in to solve one last case. Sadly, however, it was poorly executed, the fight scenes were disappointing, and the film was found lacking in having a clear and central voice for the story it wanted to tell. Overall, the film feels quite generic, and within 20 minutes, it feels very predictable without many redeeming qualities.

Recurrence is available now, exclusively on Netflix


Recurrence
  • 5/10
    Rating - 5/10
5/10

TL;DR

Recurrence, on first look, had the makings for something interesting, with a trope of the retired cop getting dragged in to solve one last case. Sadly, however, it was poorly executed, the fight scenes were disappointing, and the film was found lacking in having a clear and central voice for the story it wanted to tell. Overall, the film feels quite generic, and within 20 minutes, it feels very predictable without many redeeming qualities.

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