Marin Bonner has just moved from the East Coast to Nevada, leaving behind his two adult children and his previous life working as a business manager for a Church. Working now as a coordinator for an organization that helps prisoners make the transition back into society, Martin lives a rather isolated lifestyle, where he routinely reaches out to his two children, though only his daughter seems to ever return the favor. Meanwhile, Travis, a man whose just been released from prison after serving 12 years for manslaughter, is having trouble adjusting to the outside world. Although Martin is not his program sponsor, Travis finds solace in Martin after they meet, forging the beginning of a friendship that benefits both men. Chad Hartigan's This is Martin Bonner is a wonderfully subdued film in both character and tone which certainly requires some patience from the viewer. This is a film about converging stories, as Martin and Travis are two characters trying to navigate the world around them. While Martin is a character who seems to have it all together, the film slowly reveals the chinks in his armor, as we come to realize he too is suffering from past transgressions. Martin and Travis are two characters that are quite different on the outside but as the film progresses, merging their stories, we see how they both are dealing with their own doubts and insecurities. This is Martin Bonner is a film that captures life itself, the ups and downs, regrets and delights, and everything in between that defines everyone's existence. While many films like this usually have one character that's far more interesting, This is Martin Bonner manages to make Travis and Martin incredibly well dimensioned and fascinatingly flawed, yet geniune individuals. For Travis, I really enjoyed how the film captures his struggle to adjust to the outside world while Martin's subtle struggles with faith is one of the more uniquely subtle examinations of the film. Chad Hartigan's This is Martin demands patience from the viewer, with nothing being forced in the name of conflict, but for those willing, the film delivers on a quietly impressive character study of two souls trying to do their best in life.
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