Following dalliances in the world of shorts and documentaries, Kyle Kauwika Harris makes his feature debut in Out Of Exile from Saban Films. Gabe Russell (Adam Hampton), who was recently paroled from prison, is again back in the thick of things. After a botched armored car robbery, the FBI gets involved.
A simple in-and-out assignment ends up resulting in the death of a security guard at the hands of his drug-addicted, war veteran younger brother, Wes (Kyle Jacob Henry). Gabe soon realizes he has one last shot if he hopes to escape and provide a comfortable life for himself and his estranged daughter Dawn (Hayley McFarland). But Agent Brett Solomon (Ryan Merriman) and Agent Jordan (Karrie Cox) are determined to bring him down by any means necessary.
There is a certain amount of satisfaction to be gained, however, from the fact that Out Of Exile is not just a generic bank robbery thriller. Instead, it is an intriguing story about how one man can redeem himself for his past transgressions. He also attempts to escape the criminal lifestyle before it is too late. Unlike most bank robbery films that are generally about guys trying to make it rich while eluding the police, this kind of plot is a tad different. It involves guys trying to make it rich with a little help from the law.
Gabe and his estranged daughter have an interesting story brewing. Due to his sinister past, the protagonist is trying to break free. While trying to move on, he wants to start a meaningful relationship with his daughter. As a result of serving prison time, Gabe had a broken character. Hence, he doesn't know what life after prison is like. When his brother botches the bank job and kills a bank guard, he realizes the error of his ways. Rebirth and redemption can be seen in Gabe's story as it has brought him back to life. Throughout the movie, we see him work hard to fix all the problems he causes and start a new life to redeem himself. This film shows Adam's strong performance. You can tell he takes pride in his work and has truly embraced the character he is playing.
Merriman, an ex-child actor, gave one of his finest performances in this film. It's rare to see Merriman in serious movies. He usually appears in small B-grade films or horror movies. He played an intimidating and cunning FBI agent very well in this movie. Considering Merriman's previous work, I was amazed at how convincing his performance was. He looked intimidating onscreen, which is remarkable. This film may open the door for Ryan Merriman to have more serious lead roles.
The ending of the movie was the only problem for me. After the redemption arc, I felt the story had become too dark and depressing. Moreover, it ends with a cliffhanger that makes you ponder your interpretation. Having open-ended films is fine with me. In terms of the movie itself, I didn't think it needed an unresolved ending.
Final Grade: B-