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The Independent Critic

Rachel Noll James, Christopher Clark, Tim DeKay, Johnny Ferro
Rachel Noll James
119 Mins.
Glass House Distribution

 Movie Review: Ingress 
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I can't help but feel a little bit bad for the sci-fi film that I watched immediately following this feature film debut from writer/director Rachel Noll James. While that film is perfectly fine, I suppose, it pales in comparison to this masterclass in narrative, tone, and compelling sci-fi themes. Ingress stars James as Riley, grieving the loss of her husband Toby (Johnny Ferro), though she has the ability to still see something resembling shard of him because of her ability to place herself through alternative realities. 

In some of these realities, Toby is still alive. 

Into this story enters Daniel (Christopher Clark), a well known author with a unique ability that will serve a key role as Riley attempts to move forward in her grief by finding a place in the universe where she belongs and can discover her true self once again.

It is difficult to discuss a film like Ingress without giving it away, something I will obviously avoid. 

Suffice it to say, however, that Ingress takes this by now familiar concept, alternative realities or multiverses, and turns it into a rich and complex story that is engaging and remarkably moving. James grapples with the complexities of relationships yet also embraces the simplicity of them. Ingress succeeds greatly because it weaves a tapestry of sci-fi elements into a story both intimate and universal. For those who've experienced grief, and at some point that likely becomes all of us, Ingress speaks meaningfully whether you fully understand its more sci-fi elements or not. Loss is universal. Grief is universal. Trauma is universal. The experience of overcoming or being overcome is universal. Into this realm, James plants this beautifully tender narrative that is both thoughtful and deeply felt. 

It helps, of course, that James herself is also an immensely talented actress who brings Riley's journey vividly to life in ways that are relatable and resonant. James illuminates the screen even when she is reaching through the darkness. Her scenes alone are mesmerizing, however, her scenes alongside Christopher Clark's Daniel also are compelling. James's natural, intuitive dialogue is crisp and clear and believable. 

There are also strong supporting performances from Johnny Ferro as Toby and Tim DeKay as Lucas, though it's worth noting that this is a strong ensemble across the board. 

Lensing by Dan Clarke magnificently complements the narrative by amplifying both the universality and intimacy of this story. Michael Reola's original music follows right along as does Lindsey Jensen's excellent production design. 

Picked up by indie distributor Glass House Distribution, Ingress is a beautiful example of excellent storytelling and a beautifully constructed film weaving together a tapestry that invites you in and holds space for you to live, learn, listen, understand and, just perhaps, ingress yourself. 

Ingress is currently on a limited theatrical run. Be sure to check it out theatrically or when it arrives on streaming platforms. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic