A deadly house fire is investigated by a Police Chief and his Detective when they suddenly hear signs of life coming from under the rubble. As they search to find out what that is about, they discover a young man hidden in what must have been a secret cellar under the house.
Mary Craigo’s script ‘The Root Cellar‘ focuses on the story of Jonas, a man held hostage under a house endowed with a rare ability to connect to and draw ‘images’ of his otherwise twin sister who died at his birth, or places where his mother used to run ‘to escape her troubles’, as a character in the film describes her. Jonas surely is special and that makes him mysterious to his saviours. ‘The Root Cellar’ is about the ‘seed’ we inherit from our ancestors, a gene that is so deeply impregnated in our bones that it is not only impossible to wash out but it also brings a fragment of our ancestors’ experiences and memories along with it. Jonas was so deeply connected to his mother’s love and his twin sister that the life of isolation he had been living in the cellar has conserved the innocence in him and made him earn the ‘divine grace’ by nurturing that love in his solitude.
Ultimately, the film is about hope and returning home (finding one’s origins). There is roughness and there is tenderness in Kyle Kleinecke’s film. It is a theme exploring the antagonisms that lie in the human spirit, a theme which ends up by revealing so well the predisposition of the dark side in each of us to eventually lead us to self destruction (Jonas and his mother’s oppressor eventually dying in the fire) as opposed to the talent of the brighter side of us which is always driven by a strong feeling of gratitude that pushes us to return to our ‘starting point’ as if we’d be ‘in debt’ and we’d be looking to share our deliverance with those before us (Jonas bringing relief to John Clanton in the end of the film).
‘The Root Cellar’ is nevertheless a graceful film wrapped up as a police story which makes it even more so entertaining and gripping. A very enjoyable watch with great talent of brighting up your week-end mornings.