John is a reformed man who has just got out of prison after serving time for a serious crime. John is an old man now and looks like any other kindly man you may find waiting for public transport, so at a train station is where the story finds him.
He’s minding his own business when he picks up a small child’s toy and suddenly, deeply buried memories start flooding back of his own childhood and what may have led him to do the terrible thing that put him in prison. However, John is conflicted. He knows that he has served time for what he did and he feels like a changed man now, but the re-emergence of John’s memories suggest that maybe John’s true nature is hidden, just waiting to emerge.
Written and directed by Samantha Timms, Reformed manages to fit in a lot of story of about a man looking back to when he was growing up. There is a lot of subtext about how being old can be bittersweet as John looks back at his past and finds regrets, fears and longings that remind him that he’s still human but overlooked because of his age.
Told in snippets of flashbacks, Timms shows John’s early life mixed with a little nostalgia and dark reality as the audience is shown how John grew up and how he got to where he is now.
However, there is also the more abstract and supernatural nature to John’s urges and what makes him question whether he has really changed at all – even though he does his best to resist. This also brings up questions of nature versus nurture and whether anybody can truly be reformed if their behaviour is viewed as irredeemable.
Reformed is a unique idea that turns things on their heads as far as how we consider the elderly in so many different ways. Most of us see old people waiting for a train, going to the shops or maybe just walking in the street and we may never think twice about them.
We forget that everybody has had a past, everybody has grown up in different circumstances and there may be things that people have done that we would consider unspeakable. In short, be wary of your elders.
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