20 years has passed since Joe raped and murdered a girl. He has done his time in prison, and is now set free. He agrees to go into a program where he meets the relatives of the victim, in hopes that both parties can move on.
For some reason I have always enjoyed the idea of filmmaker teams consisting of brothers or sisters. Maybe it's because I try to imagine making a movie with my own brother, and I laugh at the idea of how that would end up. We've had some successful brother duos with the Coens, Quays, Spierigs,.. but still it seems more common that two friends make movies together, rather than siblings. The Pelosi brothers worked together as writer (Andrew) and director (Dominic) on the 2012 crime comedy "The Big Noise". As far as I know, they haven't had much experience in the field outside of that, so the two have started their journey together and with "Target Fascination" they prove themselves to be able to tackle very heavy subject matter.
The movie is about how a rapist and murderer is free from prison after 20 years, and has agreed with his psychologist to meet the family of the victim. This psychologist has started a program that is supposed to benefit both parts - both the victims/relatives of the victim and the person committing the crime. The idea is that they will be able to move past the event that took place, and accept that things have changed in the many years in prison.
Just the mere thought of the subject that "Target Fascination" deals with makes me feel awkward and a bit queasy. The way the movie portrays it is perhaps not as powerful as it could be, but there's a distinct feel of how bizarre the situation is. To sit face to face, in your own home, with the man who raped and killed your daughter/sister. The weirdest thing about the movie is not that, though, but how the mother seems to feel for the man. She essentially takes him into his home and takes care of him. Whether this is to fill a void in her heart, or if she is just feeling sorry for him, is never really touched upon (though we get some hints). The sister of the victim is more on the side of us, the viewer, that this whole thing is awkward and she doesn't seem to have moved on as much as her mother (or at least, as much as her mother wants it to seem).
One issue for me with the movie is perhaps something intentional. I found it hard to watch a movie with this plot, but not being able to feel anything towards the characters. It started out rather powerful, and we focused heavily on the man, Joe, and how hollow he seemed. To me, there was a great start here, but more and more he seemed to go back to his normal self, and I got pulled further away from him. Again, this could be entirely intentional. Fact is though, that most of the time I focused on how weird the mother was acting above everything else.
Even though I was quite disconnected to the emotions of the movie, there is a great idea here. It's a movie that asks if a person is truly changed from his crimes after spending 20 years in prison. If the person committed "just" that one crime, can he be forgiven? While the movie won't answer them, it does still put the question in our mind. It reminded me a bit of "The Woodsman", which granted is a lot more powerful, as it puts us on the side of someone who committed a horrible crime but doesn't force us to sympathize. "Target Fascination" is absolutely worth your attention, as it's an interesting little film to behold, even though it gets a little maddening.