Steven (Ryan Phillippe) and Shannon (Rachelle Lafevre) are a young couple desperate for a child. A look into their past confirms they tried and were close to becoming parents until a car accident takes that chance away from them. After the earthquake in Haiti, a lot of children have been displaced and orphaned and so the opportunity to adopt a child of their own and help someone else in need is very appealing to Steven and Shannon.

After getting in contact with an international adoption agency, and paying a very large sum of money, the couple fly to Puerto Rico to complete the final stages in the adoption process which will allow them to finally take Nina (Briana Roy) home. Benjamin (John Cusack), a suspicious guy, tries to very awkwardly start up conversations that only lead to making him look even more creepy than he acts.

Long story short, Shannon and Steven end up unknowingly walking into a situation that they never signed up for when Nina is kidnapped and they’re forced to come to terms with the fact that the adoption isn’t all it seems. Throw in a blonde-wigged Jacki Weaver, who claims to be the head of the agency, and the couple’s got a lot more on their hands than they may have bargained for.

Reclaim is easily one of those films that could have been made into a documentary and done ok. Because of the source material and the real-life facts it’s inspired by, throwing in a bit of fiction to really up the stakes and create a more personal atmosphere is something it doesn’t particularly suffer from though. It’s the kind of movie where you know there’s some shady business from the very beginning and you’re left in a bit of suspense as you wonder how the lead characters are going to try to get out of something like this.

The story is a bit lacking in development, the bad guys simply uncaring assholes. So the film falls short on the villain side because they come off as nothing but greasy street dwellers rather than top-notch kidnappers and thieves. John Cusack is a bit comical as the black-hooded creeper lurking about and Jacki Weaver deserves more than just a few lines for someone who’s meant to be the mastermind behind the whole thing. They’re a bit disappointing and underwhelming for people who run a horrendous business and are involved in child trafficking.

Ryan Phillippe and Rachelle Lefevre fill their roles well enough and quickly go from innocent-seeming couple who only want to be parents to stubborn do-gooders who want their daughter no matter the cost. It’s a thin line they walk. Their roles having to be believable as both, and they do a decent job of it without bashing you over the head with their attempted heroism. Briana Roy as Nina doesn’t ooze much emotion the entire time she’s onscreen, which is truly a shame because showing us some of what she is feeling every time she’s forced to be or do something would have strengthened the film in a big way.

Reclaim’s heart is in the right place. It gives a fictitious spin on an issue that is a crisis around the world, with 1.2 million children trafficked each year and faux adoption agencies putting them up for “adoption” and then reclaiming them for money. It’s a terrible business, and one that should have been highlighted a little more in the film, which turns into more of a money laundering scam that we see in films all the time. Underwhelming for such a great issue.

Release Date: September 19, 2014 | Director: Alan White | Screenwriters: Luke Davies, Carmine Gaeta | Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Rachelle Lefevre, John Cusack, Jacki Weaver, Luis Guzman, Briana Roy | Genre: Thriller | MPAA Rating: R for some language and some violence

 

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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