Thats Lathrop on the right.
  • That's Lathrop on the right.

Around here, we love us some Lathrop Walker. He's a charismatic, versatile, tall actor, expressive with his long hands and brown eyes, and equally believable as a Romeo or a competitive jerk in a suit.

But I don't love him in The Penitent Man. Because I don't love anything about The Penitent Man. A dull, simple film written, directed, and produced by Nicholas Gyeney—unless you're a genius, don't be the writer, director, and producer of your own films: you need someone around to yank the reins on your bad ideas—the movie is about a frustrated young psychiatrist (psychologist?) and expecting father. (That's Lathrop.)

One day, an old guy from the future sits down on his couch and blows his mind with some vague crap about wormholes and time travel and how time travel is dangerous because toying with the past can totally screw up the order of the universe (didn't we already cover this in Back to the Future?) but he's come back anyway to try and set something right and you know—because this is a hacky, thin movie that was written and directed and produced by one dude—that it's not going to go well.

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The film—made in Seattle and featuring a goofy, dudes-from-the-future climax in front of the Biltmore apartments on Capitol Hill—takes place almost entirely in two conversations: Lathrop talking to the old guy and Lathrop talking to his friend, a teacher with one eye named Ovid. They talk about his marriage, the past, the future, whether or not a weird old man claiming to be from the future is to be believed, but none of it is very interesting.

I'd love to throw some laurels at the hometown kids in this year's SIFF. (We do like hometown filmmakers.) But not to Mr. Gyeney. It wouldn't be fair to you, your hard-earned money, or your fleeting hours on planet earth.