In the plague year of 2020, we rejoice when we can see a full-blown $20-million Hollywood crime drama like “Let Him Go.”
This is doubly true when the cast includes famous actors, even if the actors are not on the A-list.
Diane Lane has nearly 70 credits and has turned out good work for decades. Kevin Costner, once an A-list talent, recently played the voice of Enzo the dog in “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”
We like seeing him in the flesh, since he is a seasoned and competent actor.
Jeffery Donovan of TV show “Burn Notice,” also seasoned and worth watching, rounds out the famous faces.
This crime/drama has a retired couple shocked by the death of their son. But their 3-year-old grandson has left for North Dakota with his mom and new stepdad. They now reside with a feral family on an isolated ranch.
Costner, a retired sheriff, will have none of this nonsense and has the will and the skills to retrieve the endangered mother and boy. Or rather his wife has the will and he has the skills.
Thomas Bezucha directed and adapted the screenplay from the novel of the same name. This is the director’s fifth outing on the big screen and likely the only one of his films you have heard of.
This movie flows at the pace of a terrapin. The retired couple, particularly the husband, move, speak and act as if all the juice has gone from them.
The wife, Diane Lane, pushes and prods her husband into dramatic action. He assures her that no good will come of the adventure. He seems too tired to fight her.
Perhaps he finds it easier to die than to argue his wife around to his point of view.
The nasty family carries the odd and vaguely Native American-sounding name of Weeboy. The sheriff’s family name is the vaguely NA-sounding name of Blackledge.
No one is identified as Native, so I don’t know what the writer intended. The only actual Native is a teenage fella named Peter with a tragic interaction with the Indian school system. That thread is left unresolved. Also unresolved is the whole idea of the Weeboy clan. We never know, but we suspect, nefarious criminal activity but learn of nothing beyond their vicious, nasty, brutal and ignorant personalities.
Even the culmination scene is understated and not satisfying.
“Let Him Go” runs for a satisfying 1 hour 54 minutes while carrying an R rating.
In this case, the rating means violence and gore not naked people or stings of bad words. People seem to like watching this three saw-blade movie. I didn’t. I can say that it is the best new release film that I have seen in months.
The film has Montana and North Dakota as the setting, but the moviemakers filmed it in Alberta, Canada. Hurrmuph.