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Fantasia Festival Review: ‘Indemnity’ is a Popcorn-Worthy Thriller that Draws Attention to Mental Health Issues

September 2, 2021Ben MK

Commonly associated with war veterans, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been the focus of such films as Da 5 Bloods, American Sniper and The Deer Hunter. But in the sci-fi thriller Indemnity, writer-director Travis Taute puts a distinctly different spin on the subject, in this tale of a man who becomes entangled in a government conspiracy to use unwitting civilians as bioweapons in a coming war.

Set in near-future South Africa, the movie follows Theo Abrams (Jarrid Geduld), a captain at the Cape Town Fire Department. The lone survivor of a fiery blaze that claimed the lives of two of his colleagues, Theo has been dealing with the psychological fallout ever since. But when his journalist wife Angela (Nicole Fortuin) is contacted by a whistleblower looking to expose the illegal and highly unethical misdeeds of the country's largest defence contractor, M-Tech, Theo finds himself dealing with a different type of fallout instead. Framed for a murder he didn't commit and pursued by the authorities as well as M-Tech's mercenaries, he must now go on the run in search of answers. With time running out and his son Wesley (Qaeed Patel) being used as leverage against him, however, will Theo be able to prove his innocence? Or will he prove to be another pawn in M-Tech's sinister game?

An action-packed genre mashup that also draws attention to mental health issues and the stigma surrounding those who suffer from them, what follows is more than just a popcorn-worthy conspiracy thriller with a sci-fi twist. On the contrary, the most resonant aspect of Indemnity isn't its most crowd-pleasing at all, but rather the fact that it helps to normalize a condition that many are affected by, but still too few are willing to talk about in earnest.

Indemnity makes its world premiere at the 2021 Fantasia International Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 4 min.

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