The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
The trailer for Let Him Go made it seem like it was going to be an engrossing, action packed Taken inspired thriller, but what we got was a character driven family drama with sensational chemistry between Diane Lane and Kevin Costner.
Thomas Bezucha has directed something he has yet to do, and that’s a fascinating watch from beginning to end. While held together by strong performances, his sense of direction here, compared to the likes of his previous efforts Monte Carlo or The Family Stone, is far more advanced and refined this go-around. We navigate through the perspective of our leads, George and Margaret, as they face relentless trauma and attempt to move forward with their grandson always in mind. The film is an impactful family drama and a lacking thriller, but the poignant components heighten the less immersive scenes.
Based on Larry Watson’s novel of the same name, director Thomas Bezucha adapts this intense drama to the big screen. Following an unfortunate accident, George and Margaret Blackledge’s son passes away, leaving his wife Lorna to become a widow with a child. Fast forward and Lorna is remarrying into a stronghold family to an abusive, stubborn man with a mysterious yet notorious criminal past. After witnessing the abuse first hand, along with the newlyweds suddenly disappearing overnight, George and Margaret set off to find their only grandson and bring him home. The film is simple to follow as the journey we are sent through is a rather straightforward one. The actions taken and the places chosen to stop at are all pieces of a rather predictable path, but it’s the characters that make the travel worth taking.
A Character Driven Family Drama With Sensational Chemistry
LET HIM GO (2020)
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are a dynamic duo that ooze with chemistry; these two go together like two peas in a pod. Costner and Lane are an undeniable force to be reckoned with as George and Margaret. A prime example of just how compatible the two are is best represented in one pivotal scene, where you can gravitate towards the inner emotions of George watching as things begin to spiral downward for the pair, then similarly with Margaret as she reacts to sudden repercussions being brought upon her husband. There’s so much development from stop to stop, as we gather more and more through the fantastic dialogue. The highly emotional and dramatic scenes are elevated to an exponential degree compared to if actions were being taken against someone we barely knew.
The majority of the side characters, many known as the Weboy family, stand opposed to the retrieval of the young grandson from the watching eyes of their mother, Blanche. Lesley Manville’s Blanche is a fantastic villain, but her portrayal felt like it needed to be a little more fleshed out in order to be separated from the typical villain opposing our “heroes.” Jefferey Donovan’s Bill Weboy is that unique perspective we needed from our villains: awkwardly friendly, undetermined motives, and an always in frame sinister smile. Without Donovan, the film is lacking a key recognizable villain, one that we can’t quite register right away if they truly are the villain or just misunderstood – this makes for a strong character. I don’t want to leave actress Kayli Carter out of the equation as she plays a crucial part in the story as she is the widow of our leads’ son and also the mother to their grandson. Carter didn’t leave much of an impression as she spent most of the time quiet and cautious of every opportunity, but she never made her presence known beyond a few scenes pertaining to her abuse.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Michael Giacchino is a brilliant composer and brings his unique compositions to Let Him Go. From family friendly films to action packed features, Giacchino knows how to heighten the presented material to a whole other level. A prominent amount of uncertainty can be found in almost every scene, with even the more heartening pieces of the score shedding some hopelessness along the way. Giacchino has a knack for choosing projects that let him show the range of emotions he can compose into a single film’s score, balancing heart, comedy, action, and drama.
The cinematography within Let Him Go was stunning and an absolute delight to watch, with many scenes showcasing nature as the backdrop and producing a shot that felt comparable to a painting. The film is gorgeous to look at with the drive that takes up a large part of the runtime, being the best aspect of the film due to its visuals. Even the Weboy estate, tucked away in the middle of a field, had a certain aesthetic in comparison to the well kept Blackledge estate, displaying the level of abuse that not only festers within the people among the family but the places they reside as well.
Let Him Go's enthralling performances keep this rather long winding road of a feature entertaining but ultimately fails to give a feasible reason for anyone to make a return journey.
Focus Features will release LET HIM GO in theaters on November 6th, 2020