Films like Steps can be often misinterpreted as cautionary tales about a reality that’s sadly omnipresent in today’s society. I’m not trying to downplay what could be a massive effect caused by those films. But I think the intention goes beyond an effect. At the end of the story, fictional or real, there is a human element that when well portrayed, is random. That randomness awakes a feeling of self-awareness in the viewer that’s far too important to put aside.
Steps is a story of a man who one day makes a choice. He stumbles in the process, and goes back a few steps, but his decision is blunt. It matters why he’s doing this. Portraying a human progress in an honest fashion is not something we’re used to watching. Formulas go for the common men who one day become heroes of their whole environment. In Steps heroism is not generic. It’s a trait for those that dare to welcome forgiveness towards others and themselves.
Brian is a man who should be grateful for all he has. One day he gets shot during a robbery and even though his survival is something of a miracle, he turns into an alcoholic. An episode of violence with his pregnant partner starts a spiral he can’t get out of. He becomes a homeless alcoholic with no prospects whatsoever. More than a decade goes by and Brian can’t change.
However, a pastor sees more in Brian. He welcomes Brian into his church in exchange for taking care of some tasks. Brian cleans himself up and finds a job. His life has changed. The new job puts him directly in front of a hard decision that requires him to welcome forgiveness in his life. It won’t be easy for him.
With the hard struggle and emotional twirls comes a new opportunity to explore his past. It’s definitely worth it but not easy, as maybe the past’s mark won’t be easy to erase.
These are stories of human limits and the unforeseen struggle that comes when you reach them. There’s nothing else but a continuous self-study of social clauses that can’t evolve due to crime being a horrible yet accepted fact. In the middle, the working man and those who surround him. The family and the necessity of keeping those you love nearby and far from danger.
Forgiveness is not commonly seen as a necessary step towards growth and tolerance. And with Steps you can’t help but feel part of a larger message, one that goes for the extreme in the film. Perhaps connection will not be accomplished, but if Brian did it, then why shouldn’t you? Morals are part of the film and not how I expected. It was the peaceful film I think I needed.
Steps is an example of realistic cinema that with a simple plot, manages to connect with the audience through an emotional channel that never fizzles out. Good performances and chemistry-based interactions between characters do well for the film’s pace, and it never gets tiresome even though it runs for almost two hours. Steps holds a slight dash of humor that I just felt was important. Or perhaps it was simply well thought.
To make a film like this means you have to know your environment well enough to stay within an authentic backdrop. Rob Morgan as Brian is a dramatic force that accomplishes a connection seldom seen in realism-based cinema. He’s fantastic in the film.
Even if Steps is fictional, you can’t help but feel it speaks directly to you. A fine film!