Friday, April 16, 2021

Reefa - Movie Review

The Movie: Reefa

The Director: Jessica Kavana Dornbusch

The Cast: Tyler Dean Flores, Clara McGregor, Cinthya Carmona, Ricardo Chavira, José Zúñiga, George Sear, Margarita Rosa de Francisco, Ezana Alem

The Story: A fatal encounter with a police officer leaves Israel "Reefa" Hernandez Jr's family and friends devastated, the Miami community outraged, and the country reeling from another case of police brutality.

The Review:
Over the last year, the issue of police brutality has received the biggest spotlight it has probably seen and one of the biggest revelations for the general public, or at least those willing to accept it, is just how common of a thing it is and has been over the entire history of this country. Tale after tale has been uncovered or reexamined about incidents where men and women tasked with serving and protecting the citizens of this country have abused that responsibility to the point where people are literally being killed based on the color of their skin.

Enter Israel "Reefa" Hernandez Jr as one of those countless examples. This movie tells the story of who he was and the days leading up to his untimely and unfortunate demise at the hands of a uniformed officer of the law. He was an artist, a student, and a young man who believed that good things were destined to happen for both himself and his family. I found it interesting how director Jessica Kavana Dornbusch chose to really focus on the life rather than the death while taking the audience on a journey of getting to know who he was, what he was about, and what should have lied ahead for him rather than just making it all about the tragic event.

Once we get there, the director makes sure we understand what was taken away and just how hopeless it all seems because a crime like this, a murder like this, exists in a system that quite honestly doesn't care and does more to perpetuate than eliminate. From what I understand, the production is locally focused within the city of Miami both on screen and behind the camera which gives the movie a very authentic feel to it and a real sense of what Reefa's life was really like.

The Verdict:
Reefa is a necessary movie. During a time when police brutality is at the forefront of our daily news and culture, Jessica Kavana Dornbusch shows us the humanity and the possibility that was tragically taken away.

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