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The Independent Critic

Tank Hurley, Scott Lane, Ciarra Harrell, Amy Jo Wagner, Judy Jackson, Kyle Scribner
Willy Adkins
Willy Adkins, Christopher Siaens
17 Mins.

 "A Great Brother" an Engaging Short With Redemptive Core 

Billy (Tank Hurley, Homicide Hunter) is a good guy, but the loss of his wife weights mightily on his heart and it's the kind of grief that he drowns in alcohol while ignoring the needs of his young daughter, Lily (Ciarra Harrell, Savannah Summer). With a burned out family, Billy spends his days drinking away his troubles and associating with the types of folks destined to keep him in more trouble, though you can't help but look at him know that there's something good inside him just looking for a way to come out. 

Lacey (Amy Jo Wagner) is your typical smalltown good-hearted woman married to a bad-hearted man, Axel (Scott Lane, The Walking Dead), who's prone to going whupass on his woman. When Billy stumbles across just this type of encounter and intervenes, it seems to open the door to a light going on inside Billy. Of course, Axel doesn't take kindly to being challenged and before long Billy's entire family is at risk if he doesn't finally make the stand for his family that he's been needing to make for years. 

A Great Brother is an engaging short film with redemption at its very core, a good-hearted film co-written and directed by Willy Adkins, a longtime actor/writer/director and supporter of the arts extraordinaire. The story here is simple, perhaps even familiar, but the ensemble cast brings it to life nicely and everything plays out in a refreshingly low-key, honest sort of way devoid of the usual histrionics one typically finds with this type of material. 

Hurley is believable as a sullen man, his grief worn throughout his entire being and his typical state of agitation obviously self-inflicted. Among the supporting players, one has to fall in love with Ciarra Harrell's Lily and Amy Jo Wagner's Lacey while Scott Lane is appropriately menacing as the hubby from hell Axel. 

There's no denying that A Great Brother is a low-budget effort and there are moments that's a little more obvious others including not quite convincing fight choreography and the inevitable sound mix challenges associated with low-budget filmmaking. These are minor quibbles for such a simple, enjoyable pleasure with a message we could all use and a reminder that sometimes all it takes is one great opportunity for us to turn our lives around. 

For more information on A Great Brother, visit the film's Facebook page linked to in the credits. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic