THIS IS MARTIN BONNER is a warm and perceptive meditation on friendship, human connection and getting a second chance at life. Fifty-something Martin Bonner (Paul Eenhorn) leaves his old life behind and relocates to Reno, where he finds work helping released prisoners transition to life on the outside, while trying his hand at speed dating and passing time as a soccer referee on weekends. Meanwhile, Travis Holloway (Richmond Arquette) has just been released from prison after serving 12 years. Surprising both of them, Travis and Martin form an unlikely friendship that offers them reciprocal support and understanding. Director Hartigan stops by to talk about the challenges and rewards of micro-budget and introspective storytelling.
“A mood piece, a character study and an exercise in poetic gesture possessed of a sort of evanescent, secular spirituality. Chad Hartigan’s second feature is Americana of a very immediate sort, a tale of redemption that may leave its viewers with an uncanny sense of peace.” – John Anderson, Variety
“Wonderfully acted and something of a minimalist masterpiece, is a striking, moving ode to lives lived day to day, even hour to hour, in which the smallest gesture has the power to make one hopeful for the next, like a small fire gently stoked.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
“The writer and director, Chad Hartigan, transforms the potentially maudlin premise into a luminous reach for grace. As the spare, sharp dialogue and tensely searching performances elicit lives filled with pain and loss, Hartigan’s images (realized by the cinematographer, Sean McElwee) capture a serene spiritual bounty that shines through the daily grit and grind.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker