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Review: Conciliate

Conciliate is an independent dramatic feature film, written and directed by Kevin Austra.  Experiencing the loss of his friend, Kyle and his brother, Adam, have arrived in Washington. Kyle is determined to confront the Albright family to uncover clues surrounding his friend’s death, David Albright. However, the volatile relationship between Kyle and Adam threatens to undermine Kyle's intentions.  

Kevin Austra as Adam

The story opens with short scenes from Kevin Austra’s previous “Closure”, making Conciliate a sequel to Closure. We meet the brothers, Kyle (Eric Francis Melaragni) and Adam (Kevin Austra), as they are blaming each other for their parents’ death, who died in a car accident. Then, we jump one year later, and Conciliate officially begins. From the first scene, it’s clear that Kyle is the stronger character- he’s successful, dresses well, and more confident, while Adam is more bitter and angry. Kyle is also the only one who reaches out, willing to put the past behind (“I’m not ashamed of who you are, and you shouldn’t be either”).

Patrick Ruegsegger as David's father

The flashbacks help the audience see another point of view of the two characters. A lot has been changed in one year for both of them, so not only we learn more about David’s case, but also get a chance to understand the characters’ motivations and conflicts better. As the story progresses, we learn that David’s death is more mysterious than we thought. Feeling he’s not welcome in David’s house, Kyle realizes that too.

Lisa Coruzzi as David's mother

The story is largely based on the interaction between the two main characters, making their chemistry one of the most important elements of the film’s success. Kevin Austra and Eric Francis Melaragni play very well together. It’s not only the continuous conflict, or the characters’ differences. The chemistry between these two actors simply works. In fact, the entire cast did an excellent job, from David’s family (the parents, played by Patrick Ruegsegger and Lisa Coruzzi, and David’s brother Mason, played by Kerwin Gonzalez), to Gunnar Funk who plays Louis Spector (“I was the last one to see David before he died”). Every single one of these characters adds value to the story. 

Eric Francis Melaragni as Kyle

While some of the scenes are relatively long, the conflicts, the performances, and the mystery around David’s death, keep the viewer intrigued. Some outstanding acting moments in the film: 

  • David’s father, Daniel, opens with a long monologue, confronting Adam in the living room: “I’d stay away from your brother… You’re garbage… You’re only going to bring Kyle down”. Adam’s reaction is impressive, as well. 

  • David’s brother, Mason, reveals some interesting details from Kyle’s past. it’s one of the longest monologues in the film, and tension only increases when Kyle finally responds. 

  • Adam enters Kyle’s room- Kyle is totally drunk. Suddenly, we not only get to see another side of Kyle (“I was Mom and Dad’s favorite, you were their mistake”), but also some amusing moments (the glass of wine in Adam’s face). For the first time, Adam becomes the mature brother who needs to take care of his young brother. 

  • Kyle’s confession. What a beautiful monologue. 

  • Louis Spector meets Adam and puts together the pieces of the puzzle. 

Conciliate - Trailer

Kevin Austra & Eric Francis Melaragni won Best Duo in September 2019, and were nominated for Best Duo of the Year. Follow the film on Instagram: Conciliate on IMDb:


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