Film Review – Let Him Go

Let Him Go (MA)

Directed by: Thomas Bezucha

Starring: Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Lesley Manville

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Re-uniting Superman’s parents from the DC Universe, Let Him Go (based on the novel of the same name) has Diane Lane and Kevin Costner once again playing husband and wife, but this time facing a dangerous family to get their only grandchild back.

During the 1960s, sweet, quiet and wholesome middle aged couple George Blackledge (Kevin Costner) and Margret (Diane Lane) live on their Montana farm with their son James (Ryan Bruce), his wife Lorna (Kayli Carter) and their baby Jimmy.

After James is killed in a horse riding accident, Lorna re-marries, but this time to the abusive Donnie Weboy (Will Britain) and in the middle of the night, the family skips town without a word to George and Margaret.

Feeling a sense of loss all over again, Margaret becomes intent on bringing home their only grandchild and last link to their dead son, and after George begrudgingly agrees to go with her, they pack up their car and start searching.

What the Blackledges eventually discover and are not equipped to deal with, is that the Weboys are protective of their own and dangerously violent and matriarch Blanche (Lesley Manville) will not let any of her family out of her sight without a fight.

This mash-up of genres is a curious piece – there are flavours of western, family drama and revenge thriller with echoes of Animal Kingdom and Winter’s Bone permeating throughout, with two different distinct tones of slow burn drama and white knuckle tension that sit awkwardly side by side.

The tension comes in ebbs and flows and at times dissipates completely during stretches of this story and narrative detours (including a Native American and his horse) that have you fidgeting in your seat questioning where it is all heading and how long it is going to take to get to its destination.

And yet somehow I found myself strangely fascinated by it all and immersed in this world.

There are, however, three stand out key sequences in which the two families face each other that will have you teetering on the edge of your seat and gasping at some unexpected violent acts.

Lane and Costner are given far more material to work with than they did in the DC Universe and their delicate performances are terrific to watch, as is Melville’s villainous turn, which in juxtaposition, makes for some dynamic exchanges.

This is an interesting addition to writer/director Thomas Bezucha’s relatively short but eclectic filmography, which includes the Christmas family dramedy The Family Stone and teen identity mix-up fantasy Monte Carlo; it would fascinating to see what he comes up with next.

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