Originally released in 2008, Hindsight is a low-budget thriller that steps into the horror realm with some hints of gore and a wraparound concept that delves into the religious and supernatural. Writer Brooke Purdy does a good job creating four distinct leads and various tense scenes, which director Paul Holahan handles with stylish aplomb. However, the motivations of the characters are sometimes forced, making it difficult to believe some of the plot developments.
The story beings with Dina (Miranda Bailey, an actress, writer, director, and producer) hitching a ride from an old dude named Peter (veteran actor and producer Richard Riehle). As the two head on down the highway, Dina tells the story of her damnation, one that involves her boyfriend Ron (Waylon Payne, known for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in Walk the Line) and affluent couple made up of Maria (Leonor Varela of Blade II and Odd Thomas) and Paul (Jeffrey Donovan, best known for his work on television with Burn Notice). It is a tale filled with selfish motives, violence, and ultimately murder.
The two couples involved in the drama are very similar, although their backgrounds are diametrically opposed. Dina and Ron are poor and live of carefree lives, stealing anything they want from others. On the other end are Maria and Paul, both of whom are educated, rich, and used money to take anything they want from others. Both couples are supremely selfish, and it is this selfishness that leads to violence and death.
The story unfolds when Dina discovers that she is pregnant. She hits on a scheme to sell her baby to the highest bidder by advertising the unborn babe on the Internet. The highest bidders turn out to be Maria and Paul, who invite the two to meet them at their posh mansion. The couples meet, but soon tension gives way to politeness when Ron covets what Paul has, Paul grows distrustful of the couple, Maria years to have Dina’s baby at any cost (she cannot have children), and Dina unravels a plot where they take the money and keep the baby. As motives are revealed, the carnage begins, complete with a twist ending.
The movie’s coda provides another punch, although some may find it a bit too much. Others will find the coda a bit silly, although it works in terms of the religious consequences of living out the Seven Deadly Sins. Think about the driver’s name (Saint Peter) and the final destination, when “it’s time to go,” and you will get the wraparound piece.
Overall, Hindsight is a solid enough psychological thriller with a wraparound ending right out of the Twilight Zone. All the actors are good, essaying their parts with dedication and skill. There a few too many clichés in the character development, but these are okay when the characters are seen as archetypes of selfishness. The problem with the movie’s storyline is that at times characters do things that are not entirely within their character—such forced scenes throw the viewer out of the movie as a result of suspension of belief.
Despite the screenplay’s shortcomings, director Paul Holahan does a great job with the characters, setting up some tense scenes with just good old acting. There is some gore here and there, but tension is maintained through character, not an easy task in a psychological thriller.
As stated before, the movie’s wraparound sequence is not really necessary, although it does come as a surprise as the sequence goes from forced intro to the finale’s final payoff. The key them of selfishness in its infinite forms is solid enough without the wraparound preaching, and perhaps the movie would have fared better if the focus had remained on making a sound psychological thriller. As it stands, Hindsight remains a successful movie that is worth watching, particularly for those who enjoy a good but low-budget thriller.