Director Ashley Eakin should be applauded for this project. In this dramatic short, it took all of 10 minutes to invoke a wave of emotions that would normally need a feature’s timespan (90 minutes).

Forgive Us Our Trespasses takes place in Nazi Germany. A young boy named Peter (Knox Gibson) is like any other kid giving their best effort in the classroom. Trying to blend in and assimilate in school can be a daunting task, even more so if you have a disability like Peter. By no fault of his own, he’s forced into a situation where his decisions will change his life forever.

I love it when the title of a project is commensurate with its implementation. The title “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” comes from a prayer in the bible. In the book of Matthew, Jesus explains how giving to the needy, fasting, and praying should be done. The prayer ends with, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” In the film, Peter’s mother Eva (Hanneke Talbot) reads this verse to him before bed, prompting a conversation about forgiveness.

The costume design was on point and accurate for its setting. Anne Dixon is credited with draping the actors with believable garb to pull off such an impactful story. Alex Weston’s music was the perfect complement to the drama and suspense felt in the story.

In 1939 Hitler implemented “Aktion T4”, which led to the murder of 300,000 disabled people while sterilizing 400,000. This secret program developed the gas chamber technology used in concentration camps during WWII. Most of those victims were children.

I give Forgive Us Our Trespasses a 10 out of 10. Never before have I seen or felt such emotion and drama in such a short time. Like a child, if you’ve ever wanted to fast forward to “the good part” of a movie, this short film encompasses that. No wasted time for character development, backstory, or plot build-up. It’s straight action, drama, suspense, and most importantly, brilliant acting!

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is available now on Netflix.

-Jon Jones

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

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