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The Independent Critic

Tony E. Williams, Christopher D. Fisher, Grayson Barnette
Kyle Romanek
70 Mins.
Osiris Entertainment

 "Astray" Hits Digital Channels from Osiris Entertainment 
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Picked up by indie distributor Osiris Entertainment for a digital video release, writer/director Kyle Romanek's Astray is an important film that never quite lives up to its importance.

The film stars Tony E. Williams as Tyler, a social worker with great intentions but judgment somewhat impaired by a failing relationship and a falling apart personal life. When he finds out about a homeless youth (Christopher D. Fisher) living near a friend, Tyler dismisses his legal obligations and instead pours on his do-gooder intentions in an effort to help the boy. Not surprisingly, when some around him find out about his actions they aren't exactly accepting.

In some ways, Astray reminds me of an indie drama from a few years back called Self-Medicated, a film that wanted desperately to be a well-intentioned and inspirational film that ultimately fell short because it could never get out of its own way. While the material being handled is different, Astray never quite gels largely owing to its often amateurish performances from a mostly inexperienced cast that tries hard but can't quite find the necessary nuances in this challenging material.

Despite the film's flaws, Romanek shows promise as a director. He has a knack for pacing and allowing the film's natural emotions to develop authentically. To his credit, and to the credit of the co-leads, both Williams and Fisher have a believable chemistry and that chemistry survives even in some of the film's more heightened dramatic moments that don't always ring as true.

For those who enjoy this type of film, Astray is worth a view even if it doesn't quite hold together as much as one might like. Romanek seems to clearly be interested in telling meaningful stories and there's clearly not enough of that in theaters these days.

For more information on Astray, visit the Osiris Entertainment website.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  

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