In REBIRTH (2016), Kyle (Fran Kranz) lives a life of routine as a white-collar suburban husband and father holding down a meaningless bank job. When he’s visited by his freewheeling college pal Zack (Adam Goldberg), he is invited to let loose for a weekend at REBIRTH, a self-discovery weekend.
Kyle is immediately singled out as not belonging. When he tries to leave, every door he opens leads to new rooms involving seduction, violence and/or being singled out. By the end, Kyle realizes Rebirth does want him to fit in. In fact, it wants to own his life.
This movie has some good execution, excellent acting, terrific premise and plenty of promise. There’s an interesting message here that we’re all yearning for something to help us become free, but even if we find that something, it winds up controlling us. Despite its promise, however, REBIRTH fell flat for me. In some ways, it feels like a bad remake of THE GAME (starring Michael Douglas), while the Rebirthers are presented as part free-spirited anarchists straight from FIGHT CLUB (with Zack playing Tyler Durden), and part ominous cult.
I could have loved this movie if the experiences Kyle had in the Rebirth rooms were in fact cathartic and meaningful, were in fact a rebirth of sorts. That he learned something about himself and became willing to change, perhaps thinking it was for the better but actually for the worse. In fact, that could have been an amazing movie. Instead, it’s just one poorly staged ritual of humiliation or attempted seduction, pointless in the end.
In the end, the film raises interesting questions and could have been truly mind bending, the way it’s being described in some reviews, but for me widely missed its potential.