Posted November 3, 2017 by in Drama


Our Score

4/ 5

Length: 98 minutes
Release Date: 2011
Studio: Straw Man Films


Rock solid acting by Leslie Simpson in a frighteningly realistic portrayal of what it means to be truly alone.


The dreary environment and slow pace will not be for all audiences.

The “last man on Earth” fights isolation, pain and his own psyche in ways that mental and metaphorical assumptions are challenged.

by Nathan Phillips
Full Article

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

– Edgar Allan Poe


This is the appropriate opening text for Andrew David Barker’s A Reckoning, a psychological drama focused on an apparent post-apocalyptic modern English environment where a lone man (Leslie Simpson) resides.  This man seemingly has all the time in the world, so to speak, with which to engage in lots of introspection, recall fond memories, and teach children at a school.  The catch is that these children are all made out of straw and he has to give them their own unique personalities based on his vision of how “normalcy” might appear to him in this context.  The days pass and he lives what passes for life in very bleak, cold, snowy surroundings.  He continues to push his pain threshold – as well as his sanity – as the plot progresses, and we get to go along for the psychological and metaphorical ride.


While there is often a horror element or just general eeriness to a typical “apocalyptic” film, A Reckoning is both scary and disturbing on a whole other level.  As such, this movie will not be for everyone.  There are no aliens here.  No frantic pace.  There are no bandits to evade, high speed chases to be had, or outside rescues to be found.  This is bleakness beyond hope as portrayed by one man.  Some scenes dealing with the elements and physical pain may leave audiences wincing in ways that gory horror couldn’t even manage.  Leslie Simpson’s execution in acting and comprehension of a complex script is impressive on a level that could rival any Academy Award nominee.  What is essentially a one man show with a few added “appearances” might draw some correlations with 2000’s Cast Away, but this is far more complex and far darker in scope, and does all of this with a tiny fraction of its budget, doing all of this with what equates to under $20,000 US dollars.  Audiences who get to experience A Reckoning will be puzzled, aghast or disturbed, and possibly all of those at once, as the movie, as well as the protagonist, descends to a level that questions everything.  What is real?  Who are the “ghosts” he sees?  Are they even real?  What is metaphorical?  And what questions will the viewer have being left to interpret after the movie ends?  This film will likely resonate with anyone who understands feelings of isolation, alienation and generally being “out in the cold” as A Reckoning carries us along.  Perhaps it will prompt viewers to grasp that notion and, in turn, do what they must to keep their sanity from day to day.


Filmed in Redcar, England, UK.  Written and directed by Andrew David Barker.



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Nathan Phillips