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DVD Review

DVD cover

Imprint (Region 1 edition)


Starring: Tonantzin Carmelo, Carla-Rae Holland, Michael Spears and Cory Brusseau
MTI Home Video
RRP: $24.95
Certificate: PG-13
Available 10 February 2009

Shayla Stonefeather, a Native American attorney, returns home to prosecute a Lakota teen accused of murder. Following the successful prosecution, she returns to the reservation to visit her dying father. All is not well in the house; her brother is missing, possibly dead, and the house seems to be haunted...

Imprint (2007 - 1 hr, 24 min, 40 sec) is an effective old style haunted house mystery directed by Michael Linn, co-written with Keith Davenport. The independent film won awards for best film, best actress and best supporting actress at the 32nd Annual American Indian Film Festival as well as winning and being nominated for a number of others.

As well as a ghost story, Imprint is also the tale of Shayla’s (Tonantzin Carmelo) journey back to her people's roots. When we first meet her she is a big city lawyer, who appears to have turned away from her heritage. This allows the film to explore the problems of trying to be both an American and an Indian, and this is not lost on those around her. When the kid she helped convict is apparently shot while trying to escape custody, the word ‘Apple’ is painted on her car - red on the outside white inside. It is only by embracing her heritage that she is finally able to resolve the central mystery.

The film also explores the inherent racism of the dominant white ethnic group towards the Native American’s, in the form of her colleague. Personally I thought that this aspect was overemphasised, but then I am not in a position to say whether this is an accurate reflection. Presumably, with so many Native Indians involved in the making of the film, one would have to accept this as a reality.

Right from the opening, ghostly dissolving, titles you can see that a lot of thought and artistry has gone into the film. The script is intelligent and creepy; if I had to compare it to something then it reminded me of Gothika (2003), creating the same sense of unease in the audience, without being truly 'wet your pants' scary. The cast is great and the twist at the end is deftly handled. Both editing and direction are on par with a movie made by a major studio, as is the soundtrack. As a supernatural thriller there is little to find fault with Imprint.

The review disc was a bare bones affair with a 16:9 picture and 2.0 audio track, according to the PR sheet the finished film should have a 5.1 track and extras in the form of a filmmaker’s commentary, a behind the scenes feature, bloopers, trailers and optional Spanish subtitles. Although the film, as supplied, was eminently watchable, the encode made the picture appear a little too soft, either that or it was shot with a digital camera.

So, not a classic film but one that can hold its head up high with its peers. The film would have been given a higher mark had the extras been included.


Charles Packer

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