In 12 minutes, "Reunion" writer/director Adam Kargman creates a world of infinite possibilities.
In 12 minutes, "Reunion" journeys through the infinite possibilities within the lives of those lost during the Columbine High School massacre on April April 20, 1999.
In 12 minutes, we see the 13 lives as they may have unfolded 10 years later during a ten-year-high school reunion filled with life and hope, success and smiles.
Too optimistic? Perhaps. Surely, not each of the 13 high school students gunned down that way would have masterfully attained their dreams. Yet, "Reunion" isn't about the harsh realities of life. We already know the harsh realities of life that cost 13 students their lives, families their loved ones, a school its innocence and a community the potential contributions of these 13 individuals with distinctly different gifts.
Adam Kargman has researched the hopes and dreams of the 13 young people whose lives were lost and, if only symbolically, he has given them back to them.
Some of the names you will remember more easily than others...Cassie Bernall, Rachel Scott, Isaiah Shoels. Others you may remember once reminded...Kyle Velasquez, Dave Sanders. All deserve to be remembered...Corey DePooter, Jim Luke, Matt Kechter, Daniel Rohrbough, Steve Curnow, Kelly Fleming, John Tomlin and Lauren Townsend.
Just as he played close attention to the real life hopes and dreams of the Columbine victims, so too he sought to find actors and actresses who closely resembled them. Kargman succeeded...sometimes, the actors and actresses not only bear an uncanny physical resemblance but they also are forever connected to the Columbine tragedy themselves.
Derek Armstrong is the real life cousin of Columbine victim Matt Kechter, whom he portrays in "Reunion."
Supporting actress Elizabeth Novotny attended the same church group as Cassie Bernall.
Cast member Debbie Major lived in Littleton, Colorado at the time of the shootings and observed first-hand the community's efforts to heal from the tragedy.
Kargman even casts Blair Williamson, an established actor with Down's Syndrome, in the role of Kyle Velasquez, a student with a developmental disability who was gunned down that day.
Kargman wisely avoids melodrama. He trusts, justifiably so, the inherent power of the images and subtle references to individuals stories that are inter-twined. The images, beautifully created, are haunting because we know the sad reality that has already unfolded.
Acting isn't really the word to describe what occurs in "Reunion." I pondered the famous "Footsteps" story as I was watching "Reunion," in which God is said to be carrying us during our times of greatest need. In "Reunion," these actors and actresses are carrying with them the lives of 13 individuals who shine brightly 10 years later with their hopes and dreams intact.
Intelligently written, beautifully photographed by D.P. Dustin Johnson and featuring stellar original music from Regan, Mother Jones, Jim Luke and Mir Wave, "Reunion" is 12 you won't forget.