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Film Review: “Hello Herman” (2012)


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Directed By: Michelle Danner

Writer: John Buffalo Mailer

Stars: Norman Reedus, Garrett Backstrom, Martha Higareda, Rob Estes, Sabrina Debler, Andy McPhee, Olivia Faye

Each person is responsible for their actions and that those actions have consequences.

Herman Howard, a sixteen year old student, makes a fateful decision. He enters his school and kills thirty nine students; two of them are teachers, and one is a police officer. Just before the shooting he sends a video message to famous online blogger, and journalist Lax Morales. In the video clip Herman tells Lax, “I want to tell you my story on your show”.  After some time passes, Lax agrees to an interview with Herman, and meets with him in prison.  Once he meets Herman, he realizes that this task is going to be one of the hardest in his life…

It`s so true that actions have consequences. Many fatal accidents, killings and certain behaviors happen because there are people that will make them happen. Unfortunately, the tragedy that takes place in Michelle Danner`s “Hello Herman” could have been prevented, if only Herman had been able to speak up about his daily abuse perpetrated by the senior students. But Herman Howard chose not to talk anyone, and makes the fatal decision to take thirty nine innocent lives. However, once we hear the story of Herman Howard, we begin to have mixed feelings about him  and the question that comes to mind is: Is he a victim of circumstance or a cold-blooded murderer?

I found it hard to review this film. It`s  a very sensitive subject that must be discussed by the public and responsible organizations. Nevertheless, Michelle Danner finds a way to tell us the story of a little boy who blames himself for the fatal accident that kills his sister. Herman`s father left many years ago and his Mother is left alone to care for two children. She is very busy with work and pays no attention to her son who begins to play a very dangerous and cruel video game. In this game, he enters a post office and starts killing people one by one; the faster he kills, the higher his points. He learns how to hit his target each time by playing this violent, cruel game.

If everything had gone well for Herman in school, maybe the indifference his Mother showed him would not have been cause for this fatal shooting. However, his suburban school becomes a nightmare for him. Once he gets there, Herman is abused by the senior students  and he doesn’t know how to defend himself. As a result, this devastating tragedy occurs at the school, and leaves over 35 people dead.

In “Hello Herman”, we see outstanding chemistry between the leads actors, Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) and Garrett Backstrom. They both deliver a solid performance.  Their dialogues are quite convincing and sometimes, moving. I think this film is very important for parents and teachers to see, to show how important it is to pay attention to the details, when it comes to our children. Even though the subject matter of the film is so controversial, Danner still pursues something very unique; something that only certain people will understand. In Danner`s film we see how an innocent child can easily transform into a heartless killing machine through constant abuse.

Having said that, “Hello Herman” is a gateway to open communication for those who hesitate to discuss a subject as relevant to our culture as bullying and violence. It`s very well-acted, well directed, and an educational movie about how each person is responsible for their actions and that those actions have consequences.

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About Ulkar Alakbarova (1002 Articles)
My name is Ulkar Alakbarova. A wonderful name, is it not? I come from the exotic land of Azerbaijan but now I live in the hub of Hollywood North – Toronto, Canada. How lucky I am to be able to enjoy and indulge in my favourite avocation of watching movies. Movies of every genre are screened here in Toronto. There are black and white classics, avant garde, independently produced, and of course, newly released movies for all to enjoy. Let me share this treasure of entertainment with you. Read my thoughts and opinions then let me know if you agree.

5 Comments on Film Review: “Hello Herman” (2012)

  1. I remember your recommendation – will be sure to check this one as soon as possible 🙂

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