Retribution is a pulse-quickening thriller capturing a family skirting perilously close to the brink of destruction.

Hollis (Aaron Paul), a beer swilling hot-head, undertakes the responsibility of raising his sons Jacob (Josh Wiggins) and Wes (Deke Garner) after the devastating death of their mother. Hollis struggles to rise to the challenge, his parental absence exaggerating the deep void the bereft family already face.

Heavy metal fanatic Jacob steps up as a role model for his little brother; a good intentioned yet ultimately irresponsible guardian guilty of inflicting more damage than he can prevent. Both he and his troubled father battle between an inherent good nature and their unavoidable weakness for recklessness (the former quality continually sacrificed for the latter). As both men face their impending plight and vent their anguish, a slither of stability is offered in the boys’ grounded Aunt Pam (Juliette Lewis), but her assistance isn’t welcomed by all.

Captured through the lens of a shaky hand-held camera (seemingly reflective of the instability of the wounded family) a docudrama style adds to a sense of realism. The tale could be that of any out-of-control family; the events lack excessive dramatization, instead having the natural flow of something unscripted and uncontained.

Aaron Paul showcases the same raw emotional intensity he wowed with in hit TV series Breaking Bad; his portrayal of fraught, volatile individual a mere stone’s throw away from self-destruction reasserting his stellar status. His paring with impressive young talent Josh Wiggins makes for an electrifying duo; Wiggins proves superb as a turbulent teen brimming with a furious fervour as unnerving as it is bitterly touching.

The dysfunction here is more social commentary than it is an anomaly; other teens within Jacob’s circle too are second-hand sufferers to the troubled times endured by their parents. Retribution is no perfect family portrait, but a deeply poignant, sublimely acted snap shot of an understandable struggle that any of us could face.

Retribution is released on Blu-Ray and DVD on 12th January