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The Independent Critic

Tyler Roberds, Jami Harris, Jo Anna Holt Mishler, Lisa Burns, Stephen Greer, Sheena Pena
Caleb Vetter
Kim P. Wells
73 Mins.

 "Pawn's Move" Review 
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After a successful run on the indie and faith-based film fest circuit, Caleb Vetter's Pawn's Move has been picked up for a home video release by Crown Entertainment and will be available in Christian bookstores and online retailers starting May 22nd, 2012.

Pawn's Move centers around Jimmy Davis (Tyler Roberds), who has spent most of his young adult life working at a pawn shop alongside Harvey (Jack Mishler), an endearing and wise 86-year-old seemingly with a warm affection for nearly everyone who crosses his path and who took Jimmy in early in life. When Harvey suddenly passes away right about the same time the pawn shop scores $4 million from a recent collectible, life suddenly becomes more than Jimmy can handle when he inherits the shop, the money and a clingy, money hungry girlfriend. To clear his head, Jimmy catches a bus and heads off for a small town under a new name. He winds up working in, you guessed it, a pawn shop helping out the delightful Wanda (Jo Anna Holt Mishler) while connecting ever so gently with a mysterious young woman named Lindsey (Jami Harris).

Pawn's Move picked up a couple prizes along its festival journey including Best Family Film and Audience Choice Feature at Bare Bones International Film Festival. The film was also an official selection in the Kansas International Film Festival, Maranatha Christian International Film Festival and Independents' Film Festival.

The film benefits greatly from a warm and winning key performance by Tyler Roberds, acclaimed for his performance in the indie thriller Find Me. Roberds almost instantly paints Jimmy as a young man you can't help but like, and long about the time his ruse in the small town begins to unravel you find yourself completely involved in just how all of this is going to end up for the young man. Roberds' performance is a low-key one, but it's a low-key one that still leaves a lasting impression.

Jack Mishler's performance as Harvey also helps to construct the film's solid foundation. Mishler's performance brings to mind that of George C. Scott in Angus, an underrated teen flick from 1995. Mishler's Harvey is the kind of spiritual that every young man needs, a guy both wise and accepting and able to pronounce scriptural truths without ever coming off as over-the-top preachy.

Jo Anna Holt Mishler is also terrific as Wanda, a small town pawn shop owner known for her gift of hospitality and a willingness to take in and take a chance on those around her. Jami Harris shines as Lindsey, a young woman with a past whose story gradually unfolds throughout the film's 72-minute running time. Among the supporting players, Stephen Greer leaves the most positive impression as a longtime friend of Jimmy's who also, in subtler ways, grows into his own throughout the film.

Pawn's Move is a Dove Family-Approved Film for "All Ages," though it's worth noting that the film's slower pace may leave younger children a bit restless. The film would be a great view, however, for families with children from the ages of 10+ with a variety of issues that could lead to terrific conversations following the film including such topics as friendship and how God moves in our lives.

The film is directed by Caleb Vetter, who clearly has a gift for telling important stories that don't necessarily hit you over the head with their importance. Of course, some of that credit also goes to screenwriter Kim P. Wells. Wells has crafted dialogue on the kinder and gentler side of life that still quietly tackles important issues that impact families from all walks of life.

You can already pre-order Pawn's Move on such sites as, and the film will be released on May 22nd. For more information, visit the film's website listed in the credits.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic