Let Him Go follows elderly couple Margaret Blackledge (Diane Lane) and George Blackledge (Kevin Costner), proud parents to their son James (Ryan Bruce) who is married to a young woman named Lorna (Kayli Carter). James and Lorna have their own son, little Jimmy, and things seem to be going well for this little family until one day when James falls from his horse and breaks his neck.
In a recent review of the movie Six Minutes To Midnight I pointed out that there were so many war films, particularly about the two big ones that the whole world took part in, that we had hit a point where it was hard to imagine someone doing something new with the genre. It’s grown stale, there is no real new story to tell and to back me up on this we have The Courier, a film that feels like it should bore me with its familiarity… but surprise, this one is actually good enough to work despite its recognizable tone.
The “story about a small event that happened during one of the world wars” film is something that seems to come about yearly, either a film set during one of the wars that uses the horrific events as a backdrop for something else (such as the 2019 film The Aftermath) or actually telling a story that happened during either war (such as the 2020 film 1917). At this point it feels like we’ve been told every possible story about these two wars and yet they keep on making them for no perceivable reason other than an enjoyment of using the grimy filter that probably came with the cameras when they bought them… it certainly can’t be because there’s an interesting story worth telling because I just sat through Six Minutes To Midnight and it definitely didn’t have one of those.
Little behind the scenes info here, I normally only watch films once before reviewing them. Streamed, in cinema, copy I have on DVD, one viewing and then start work on the review. Why? Well, a few reasons. The main reason being time, I do not get paid to do this and don’t have extra time for multiple viewings. The second reason being cost, this is especially true with films I see in a cinema (you know, that thing I haven’t been inside of for 7 weeks because my state decided to be run by idiots who can’t seem to get other idiots to stay inside their idiot homes so we can stop the spread of a deadly plague!).
In general I just don’t feel the need to, one viewing tends to give me a pretty solid opinion and when my opinions change it isn’t due to subsequent viewings but just due to having more time to think about the film… this is to say that I had to watch Infinite twice, not due to lack of understanding but because it actually bored me to sleep on the first go round and almost took me out on the second viewing.
In 1954, William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies was released and quickly became a cultural phenomenon that would become so well known that the title of the book is able to describe almost any group of people devolving into a mass of internal conflict and violence. You may also be aware of the multiple movies that’ve been adapted from it or, possibly more likely, the Simpsons version of it in the episode Das Bus (Season 9, so back when the show was universally considered “Good”). It’s a classic story that lends itself well to adaptation provided you have a charismatic young cast and can do something interesting to the material that’s been adapted multiple times… and here we find the issues that plague Voyagers.
Film releases sometimes happen in little patterns. A certain period of the year is usually for the big blockbusters, another period tends to be for the prestige films trying to get an Oscar, other periods are known as dumping grounds go. Well I’m noticing a new pattern forming, it seems like this point every year is when Netflix seems to release a particularly pathetic wannabe TV movie thriller. First was Secret Obsession, then Dangerous Lies and now we have the utter excrement that is Hostage House, a movie I wouldn’t even program at 3am on the cheapest network you could contemplate.
Normally I start these things with a little fun thing that will provide some context for the review, either on why the film exists or on a bit about the genre or even just a bit about my relationship to the material in order to try and paint a broader picture. Today, just a little mild housekeeping before I talk about Gunpowder Milkshake. My home state of NSW has been in lockdown thanks to covid for the last month, which is why I’ve had the time to basically do one of these every day and why you might’ve spotted I missed out on some recent releases like Space Jam 2, Fast & Furious 9 and Escape Room 2. Well, that lockdown’s been extended throughout August so I’m gonna miss a bunch of those releases too, which is particularly annoying cos I know some of the big ones are gonna be on HBONow and I can’t access that (I think) so please just keep my home state in your thoughts, hopefully we can get things on track and return to normal… anyway, let’s talk about a film that only released in cinemas down here but was also on Netflix in the US so was therefore relatively easy to access.
Time travel in movies is always a fun thing to try and deal with because everyone will try to logic around it. I saw this happen most recently with Endgame where a large amount of people kept trying to explain away how none of the time travel stuff made sense because it should’ve created alternative timelines and things of that nature (something that grew so large that Marvel just spent a full season of television going “look, if an alternate timeline did happen, these space cops would come and stop it”). I have a personal rule about time travel in movies, which is “It’s not a real thing, it’s literally a trick to explain why modern day people are in the past, stop overthinking it” which is possibly why I had a somewhat good time watching Synchronic which might have one of the more interesting uses of Time Travel I’ve seen in a while.
As a general rule I try my hardest not to let my personal politics impact my enjoyment of a film. I won’t pretend I don’t have intellectual differences with certain films ideas, I even spell them out in order to give context, but I can and have enjoyed movies with values I don’t agree with made by companies run by people who I don’t agree with… so, even though this movie was released in the US by Ben Shapiro’s website, The Daily Caller, a site I would consider a gateway drug to fascism and white supremacy, I promise you that connection had nothing to do with my enjoyment of the film… no, because in order to enjoy this film I would have to have little to no good taste even before I looked into its connections because it’s just so poorly made.
Normally when I review a film, I will try to avoid looking up other reviews or even look at the number on Rotten Tomatoes because I really don’t want to be influenced when writing my own piece. I would hate to steal a line by accident or have my views influenced by the group, I’d rather like an unpopular film than pretend to hate it just to fit in. So, when I was googling the movie Vanquish in order to have the IMDB page up so I could get the spelling of certain names correct and saw that it had a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes I was in shock because that’s worse than the score for Music, and Music is my current front runner for worst of the year. Surely this can’t be that bad, can it?