The moment you eye Tobin Bell in writer/director Jason Mac's A Father's Legacy, you will undoubtedly immediately flash back to Bell's multiple memorable turns within the Saw franchise.
It will take only a few more moments, however, for you to completely abandon this flash back and immerse yourself in Bell's even more memorable turn here as Billy Ford, an elder man living alone in an isolated cabin whose solitude is disrupted by the unwanted arrival of Nick Wolfe (Jason Mac), who has just been shot after robbing a warehouse and arrives at Billy's cabin seeking an escape from the urban jungle he calls home while searching for the father he never knew.
As the days progress, the tension between Nick and Billy begins to relax as secrets are revealed, common ground is discovered, and it soon becomes apparent that while these two men may not have been looking for each other they've clearly been brought together for a reason.
A Father's Legacy is a passion project for Mac (The Vampire Diaries, Criminal Minds). A love letter to his own father and one could dare say a way of processing his own grief after his father's passing, A Father's Legacy is a faith-inspired film that chooses to inspire rather than preach and to explore rather than dictate. While A Father's Legacy is an occasionally gritty affair, it is for the most part instead a film that finds the light within darkness and hope within the most jagged parts of real life.
A Father's Legacy soars on the strength of the relationship between Mac and Bell, the latter whose acclaim within the Saw franchise has always been warranted but who's talent has always far surpassed that franchise's limitations. Bell is, in fact, rather extraordinary here as the reclusive Billy whose warm heart and paternal aura speak volumes far beyond even the film's dialogue.
As Nick, Jason Mac undoubtedly has the longest journey to travel as a character and he does so quite admirably. Nick's woundedness is clearly more than physical and evident from moment one, however, Mac never allows him to fall into easy caricatures or paint-by-number transformations. The story that unfolds here may have hints of familiarity, however, Mac keeps it interesting throughout and immerses us in this world of a young man who carries generational shame that will either continue on or it won't.
It may very well be up to him.
A Father's Legacy was an official selection of the Heartland International Film Festival and had a one-night Fathom Event release in June, though here's hoping its release on PVOD offers it the visibility it so richly deserves. Filmed on location in South Carolina, A Father's Legacy is a beautiful film to behold with strong lensing by John Carrington and original music by Jeffery Alan Jones that immerses and envelopes.
A Father's Legacy is a unique and inspired film centered around faith, redemption, family, and how the decisions that we make ripple forward again and again. Wrapped around two wonderful performances from Jason Mac and Tobin Bell, A Father's Legacy features a story you won't soon forget brought vividly to life by actors who clearly believe in it.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic