HOLLYWOOD—In a year where cinema has been turned on its head, it is rare to see an actual film that is exciting, a thrill-a-minute, full of suspense and a fantastic movie in the process. That is where things land for the drama “Let Him Go” starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. These are two phenomenal actors, who have serious chemistry that is explosive and exciting to watch.
Yes, I will admit the title of the flick alone did not make me have high hopes, but coming in with low expectations and being blown away by what I witnessed proves a stellar script, a great director and marvelous actors and actresses can make the difference. Costner and Lane portray George and Margaret Blackledge who are recovering the loss of their son James, who was killed after being thrown off a horse, a least that is what the audience is made to believe in the start.
In the midst of that grief, George’s widow, Lorna (Kayli Carter) has remarried to Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain). This marriage does not seem like one of love, and it’s apparent not only to the viewers but all parties involved including Lorna, Donald and Margaret. All seems well until it isn’t, especially after Margaret spots Donnie hitting her grandson and her former daughter-in-law.
The movie has a very old school vibe and that might be a direct result of the art direction and cinematography. That feels like North Dakota. “Let Him Go” does not feel as if it was shot recently, but that is a testament to the production value. It is so real you feel as if you’re actually in the movie as it plays out. The movie is paced to perfection and it’s a slow burn, then a simmer and when the action explodes it does so in a way that grabs the audience so viscerally it does not let you go until the climatic end.
Donnie mother, Blanche Weboy portrayed by Lesley Manville is fantastic. Manville eats up this supporting role and is delicious as a villain. Her time on the screen is scary good and I absolutely could see a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Manville. We have not seen a villain this juicy on the screen in quite some time and as a spectator you will despise her.
Lane brings ferocity to Margaret that is admirable. Costner brings softness to George, but there is a silent fight that makes the character beyond heroic in the tiniest instances. Margaret feels like the power player, while Costner takes her lead, but in a more demure, yet rigid way. The buildup to that big moment that Margaret and George comes face-to-face with the Weboy family is palpitating, full of tension and just gripping to watch.
“Let Him Go” has a way of punching the viewer and getting you energized as you watch the narrative play out. You are screaming at the TV, the cellphone, the tablet or the big screen as you watch things transpire. I was not just thoroughly entertained by this movie; it put a smile on my face realizing that there are still filmmakers who understand the power of storytelling.