Partisan (Well Go, 10.2) points to nothing more than a man with a vengeful grievance against the world and an ill-defined messiah complex, using his powers of persuasion over the weak and impressionable to recruit a personal army. Why, is anyone’s guess. Cassel’s measured performance keeps the malevolence mostly under the surface. But Gregori is just not an intriguing enough central character to make this extended exercise in dour artiness more than mildly effective.

“It would be tempting to read all this as an allegory for any kind of extreme isolationist group dedicated to the elimination of non-adherents, except that there’s no evidence in the film of either opposing beliefs or hostile threats from outside. The recruitment of children as assassins also has potential parallels around the globe, from Colombia to the Middle East, Myanmar to the Congo.

“It appears that Kleiman and Cyngler favor ambiguity over anything approaching sociopolitical context, even obliquely. (The film’s interiors were shot in Australia, with exteriors in Georgia, and the cast’s mishmash of accents vaguely suggests Eastern Europe.)” — from David Rooney‘s 1.29.15 review, filed from the Sundance Film Festival.