“Quest” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

1 September, 2017

Director: Jonathan Olshefski
Christopher Rainey, Christine’a Rainey, Patricia Rainey

Synopsis: A documentary epic spanning eight gruelling years in the life of a struggling African-American family as they experience tragedy and triumph while trying their best to keep their heads above water.

Quest Review:

A contemporary parable for the depressed and uncaring, “Quest” is a “Fences”-style documentary with true compassion for its subjects, providing a shoulder to cry on while turning viewers into blood brothers entwined in a life unfolding before their eyes. A “Hoop Dreams” tale that could easily have been made into an entire Netflix miniseries, the film sees a couple wise beyond their years who blossom as the kindred spirits at the heart of a working class story, showing warmth and compassion as they refuse to turn their backs on the hand they were dealt in life.

Capturing the pursuit of happiness at its most restricted and despondent, “Quest” waits in vain for peace in Philadelphia’s harshest region, focusing on neighbourliness and goodwill while inner-city unrest echoes in every facet of one family’s humble existence. Encapsulated in the graphic loss of an eye; a metaphor handed to director Jonathan Olshefski on a blood-stained platter as a family struggles to accept yet another tragedy that they couldn’t prepare for, the film writes its biography through narrated glimpses, finding meaning in the opinions of ordinary people whose familiarity with heartbreak never makes their reality easier to deal with.

Displaying tremendous strength in the face of adversity yet also brutal honestly when questioned on the messiness of birth, death, and all the chaos in-between, the Rainey family rarely wallow in self-pity, shedding few tears as they recount eight years’ worth of struggles against a poverty-stricken backdrop. Although somewhat fortunate when compared to the unseen drug dealers, crack addicts, and drive-by gangsters who infest their area, the family reflect on a community in fear, terrified, and raising families who will inevitably become caught in the crossfire as the realities of gun crime, drug addiction, and dishonest politics play out on their doorstep with little promise of a brighter future.


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