Reviewed for Empire Online as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013:
Arriving on a wave of well-deserved festival praise, This Is Martin Bonner is a beautifully understated character study about people of certain age trying to start over. The second feature from independent filmmaker Chad Hartigan, it revolves around an Australian divorcee (Paul Eenhoorn) who’s recently moved to Nevada for a new job. Tasked with helping convicts adapt to life on the outside, fifty-something Martin comes into contact with freshly-released sad-sack Travis Holloway (Richmond Arquette), and the two strike up something of a mutual friendship. From here, it could be argued that not much happens, but Hartigan’s low-key drama is so naturalistic and well-acted that it doesn’t need eventful sequences in order to prove dramatic. Essentially a two-hander, the twinkle-eyed Eenhoorn is flawlessly authentic from start to finish, while Arquette is just as impressive despite being saddled with an array of sweaters that Bill Cosby might have approved of. Reno, meanwhile, lends the film an eerie beauty and a real sense of place, captured beautifully by a stunning 360 degree point-of-view shot as Travis drinks in his new home.