A man’s road to redemption gets as the title states, tainted, in this Canadian action thriller from writer-director Brent Cote.

Lance, a former member of the Aryan Brotherhood with ties to the Russian mob, has served a 15-year sentence in prison and has severed all ties to the organization and just wants to live a peaceful life. He meets Anna, his neighbor, who works as a songstress at a local bar. However, Gregor, a member of the Russian mob who knows of Lance’s previous actions, offers Lance an olive branch to do one more task in exchange for complete freedom.

Lance reluctantly agrees to the job. He learns members of the Brotherhood are planning to hijack the mob’s meth connection. All Lance has to do is confront them the only way he knows how. When he succeeds, he is promised a new identity and money. However, his bond with Anna gets closer and the mob believe that Lance might be a potential threat. Vladimir orders Gregor to have Lance and Anna killed. Lance soon learns what is coming, and he may have to do the thing he never wanted to do again. His road to redemption soon becomes “tainted”.

This Canadian action thriller is one of those whose title couldn’t fit any more perfectly. The film is about a man on a road to redemption that becomes as the title indicates “tainted”. Writer-director Brent Cote crafted a film that can be described as a character study and interesting enough, while the focus of the film is on our central character of Lance, but there is a subplot involving the man who hired him Gregor, as well as songstress Anna, as we find their situations “tainted” as a result of this connection.

Alan Van Sprang is excellent in his role of the quiet Lance. He reminds me of a character I would see Dave Bautista play. Quiet, soft-spoken, and looking for redemption but when the script calls for it, he gets down and dirty and using his fists and toughness to get his point across. John Ralston’s Gregor is seen more of a likable character for a Russian gangster. He’s seen heavily supporting his wife Adalina’s bakery and wants her to have good business. When he’s seen doing a deal, he even brings some of his wife’s delights to his partners. It is only when Vladimir, played by the legendary John-Rhys Davies, is involved that he must turn up the tough guy side and as result, his personality and road to a better life is tainted as well.

Degrassi alumni Sara Waisglass is also excellent as Anna, the young songstress who bonds with our protagonist. She is at first resistant but soon finds herself drawn towards Lance not in a romantic manner, but his love of music becomes a heavy influence on her wanting to get somewhere bigger with her music career. On top of that, she does have a good singing voice. However, because of her involvement with Lance, her road to find success, gets tainted as a result. And it is a very pivotal scene that brings Lance, Gregor, and Anna together and their “tainted” roads together.

Tainted is a well-made action thriller about the roads of redemption, a better life, and success being tainted through the eyes of three characters. While its central focus is on the one looking for redemption, you can’t help but feel sympathy for the other two, even with the situation at hand.


Epic Pictures presents a Cote Entertainment and Gearshift Films production. Director: Brent Cote. Producers: Jordan Barker, Borga Dorter, and Allan Fung. Writer: Brent Cote. Cinematography: Kevin Rasmussen. Editing: Gloria Tong.

Cast: Alan Van Sprang, John Ralston, Sara Waisglass, John-Rhys Davies, Lina Roessler, Aaron Poole, Shawn Roberts, Simon Northwood, Markjan Winnick, Jake Michaels, A.C. Peterson

The film is officially out on Demand today!