LET HIM GO (2020)

Written & Directed By: Thomas Bezucha
Based On The Novel By: Larry Watson
Cinematography: Guy Godfree
Editor: Jeffrey Ford & Meg Reticker

Cast: Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Lesley Manville, Jeffrey Donovan, Kayli Carter, Booboo Stewart, Will Brittain, Greg Lawson, Ryan Bruce, Adam Stafford, Connor Mackay 

A retired sheriff and his wife, grieving over the death of their son, set out to find their only grandson.

The first half of the movie is more slow-burning, moving family drama built around a tragedy. That is better than one expects.

The film works as a new western. As it is a period tale with plenty of scenery of undisturbed landscapes. That slowly develops into a thriller of morals and honor. It even includes a Native American character. Who becomes a surrogate son for the main characters far away from home. 

Kevin Costner, we are used to this type of fun and role. As he more or less recently takes to roles that are more western influenced. So much so you wonder if he Is the new John Wayne or is he trying to be. Only less racist and a little more sensitive. Not to mention modern. Here he takes more of a back seat to Diane lane. Who is the true powerhouse throughout. Taking over scenes with a quiet dignity but ferocious spirit and manner. Costner ends up becoming her backup.

What Is interesting is that this is the type of film that Kevin Costner would usually Star in and direct back in the day. So while his appearance here isn’t surprising, which is how much he stays in the backseat rather than commanding scenes. Even if he becomes more active in the third act. 

They both display a fair amount of quiet acting that says so much and comes out of body language, facial gestures, and manners. 

Part of the interest In the first half is once they hit the road the people they meet along the way. Showing a kind of Americana. When it was changing and going dark. Hardening to a time of classical American values and idealism and their perversion of it. 

It’s also a nice reunion of sorts for Kevin Costner and Diane Lane last seen together in MAN OF STEEL. As the parents of Clark Kent/Superman making them the all-American mid-west couple. Here they are the same only as grandparents and their son went this time around.

Lesley Manville is deep in character and over the top memorable as the mama hen and main villain of the dangerous Weboy clan in this film and amongst the leads, she makes her mark and her presence felt. 

In fact, it might have been a little more interesting to see if the lebouf clan and how they operate. Their day-to-day operations and influence, but as they are talked about and built up as some kind of phantoms. They maintain an air of mystery and live up to their reputation and it makes the slow journey to them worth it. Even if they have mroe the unlikeable elements of the crime family in the film ANIMAL KINGDOM only less suggested incest. 

We barely get to know them personality-wise other than the matriarch and the family uncle, her consigliere of sorts. Who stands out. The uncle played by Jeffrey Donovan Whose character always offers a smile and a threatening manner. 

The film has many memorable scenes. Like the dinner scene at the weboy compound and we meet the family and it seems more a battle for power and strength over one another. Not necessarily physically but by implication. 

The Hotel room ambush is another striking scene that has shocking violence. That shows that this film is traditional but also kind of dark.

The film offers an ending that isn’t the massacre you might be expecting and still plays off not as satisfying as you might have hoped.  


JACK (1996)

Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: James DeMonaco & Gary Nadeau
Cinematography: John Toll
Editor: Barry Malkin

Cast: Robin Williams, Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Brain Kerwin, Bill Cosby, Fran Drescher, Adam Zolotin, Todd Bosley, Jurnee Smollett,  Michael Mckean, Don Novello, Keone Young, Seth Smith, Mario Yedidia, Jer Adrianne Lelliott

Because of an unusual disorder that has aged him four times faster than a typical human being, a boy looks like a 40-year-old man as he starts fifth grade at public school after being homeschooled.

This is a feel-good movie that feels at times too artificial.

A kids movie, more from an adult’s point of view that families will enjoy. That tries to capture the winsomeness of youth but reeks of sentimentality and a kind of contempt with an over the top earnestness. That works for the audience but feels pointed and over intellectual at times just to try to explain things in a plausible way. While taking itself too seriously.

It attempts to be a feel-good film so much that it feels like a cop-out or set up to watch Robin Williams be wacky with kids while supposedly being a kid. Letting him loose to be wild and showcase his improv talent while still playing a character convincingly.

If you are a fan or completist of his works then this film is great. As I can admit a favorable bias when it comes to Robin Williams performances. This feels almost like the greatest hits collection. As it shows his range fully in character. As this is a role seemingly written for him. So it is perfect casting with him is the lead being unpredictable and always having a certain playfulness. Though as you watch you get a sense that he is better than the material. Even as the movie is more or less built around him. 

While Francis Ford Coppola tries to make the material and the film more enriched then it is or deserved to be. As to not embarrass himself. Plus gives him the chance to work with Robin Williams. Though the film Still feels disappointing as he tries to bring tone and atmosphere to the material. Just as he did in his previous for hire film THE RAINMAKER.

The film tries to show the joy of youth and ends up coming off more obvious than anything. While some comedic scenes seem misplaced even though they are supposed to be in a kind of reality seem silly more than anything.

Child actor Todd Bodley does his similar oddball schtick he did in the movie LITTLE GIANTS. Though he used his talents better in the kids film LLOYD then here.

Bill Cosby plays a supporting role as a child psychiatrist that feels more like a special guest star and is filmed in a warm loving way. That set the time for his reputation more. That watching the film now is almost sad and scary knowing what we know and scars the movie a bit. In which his performance and character are some of the better things in it.

The film is an interesting contrast of the two comedians working together though mostly in dramatic scenes.

As towards the end the film takes a more dramatic and sad turn, but it also ends up being a life-affirming film for the whole family. As even in It’s More adult scenes it comes off as silly and innocent 

The film in the end is definitely a crowd-pleaser. That you can’t help but smile and giggle at least once or twice.

Grade: C



Directed By: Lou Adler
Written By: Nancy Dowd  (Credited As: Robert Morton)
Cinematography By: Bruce Surtees
Editor: Tom Benko

Cast: Diane Lane, Laura Dern, Ray Winstone, Christine Lahti, Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Peter Donat, David Clennon, Brent Spiner, Debbie Rochon

The media and disaffected teens mistake the acerbic rants of an obnoxious teenage punk rocker as a rallying cry for the women of America, launching her and her talentless group to national stardom.