For her feature narrative debut, “In the Radiant City,” Rachel Lambert started with some compelling material: the truth. The filmmaker and her writing partner Nathan Gregorski were first inspired to write their film after reading a New York Times article that chronicled the fallout of publicized tragedies on the families of the perpetrators.
As Lambert explained to IndieWire during the Toronto International Film Festival, where her film bowed last fall, “There was an article in The New York Times, and it was called ‘Killers’ Family Confront Fear and Shame.’ And it wasn’t like a firebrand, scorched earth kind of testimonial, it was profiling four families of murderers of some great note. I just had never read anything that painted with such humanity something that I think is typically seen as inhuman. It really frustrated my natural inclination to divide things up ‘black and white.” I was so challenged emotionally and intrigued.”
That’s where she and Gregorski started, and the result is a sensitive and finely made family drama with no easy answers. The film follows prodigal son Andrew (Michael Abbott, Jr.) who returns to his family’s hometown after many years away, and “In the Radiant City” neatly hedges between intimate family issues and larger questions about violence and the justice system. As the film unfolds, some questions are answered, but “In the Radiant City” traffics in murky morals and stunning silence.
In addition to grabbing the attention of filmmaker Jeff Nichols, who produced the film, Lambert also snagged herself a hell of a cast, including Celia Weston, Marin Ireland, Paul Sparks and Michael Abbott, Jr. as members of the small-town Yurley family. Check out our exclusive trailer and poster for “In the Radiant City” below.
“In the Radiant City” will be available on digital and On Demand on Friday, July 18.