Dakota Death Duel

Let Him Go

Director: Thomas Bezucha

Cast: Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Lesley Manville, Jeffrey Donovan, Kayli Carter, Booboo Stewart, Will Britain, Ryan Bruce

Thank you to United International Pictures for the UIP Film Preview of Let Him Go held on Tuesday 24th November 2020 at Suncoast CineCentre in Durban.

Director of The Family Stone, Thomas Bezucha adapts the 2013 novel by Larry Watson Let Him Go into a big screen cinematic interpretation of generational loss, blood feuds, fierce maternal love starring a superb cast headed up by Oscar winner Kevin Costner (Dancers with Wolves) and Oscar nominee Diane Lane (Unfaithful) who play a retired rural Montana couple George and Margaret Blackledge who go in search of their missing grandson.

As Let Him Go opens with a happy familial scene of a retired couple the Blackledges enjoying sometime with their only son and his new wife and young baby, this jovial scene is shattered when their only son dies suddenly leaving his new wife Lorna Blackledge and young son adrift. When Lorna played by Kayli Carter recently seen in the brilliant TV film Bad Education meets new husband Donnie Weboy played by Will Britain, she does not realize the twisted family she is marrying into.

Soon Lorna and Donnie mysteriously skip town in Montana taking the Blackledge’s only grandson Jimmy with them. Margaret persuades George to go in search of Jimmy across the border in the rough plains of North Dakota. Their journey takes them to the small remote town of Gladstone, North Dakota where they track down Donnie’s uncle Bill Weboy wonderfully played by Jeffrey Donovan (Honest Thief, Changeling) who is doing a superb job in a slew of recent supporting roles.

Bill warns the Blackledges that first they have to confront his sister-in-law the vicious Blanche Weboy, mother of the Weboy clan. In a performance reminiscent of Jacki Weaver’s Oscar-nominated turn in Animal Kingdom, Oscar nominee Lesley Manville (The Phantom Thread) proves her range as the vile blonde haired mother of a gangster family who feels nothing at asking her son to cut off the fingers of a potential threat to the Weboy existence.

Manville is so good that she makes Let Him Go worth seeing especially in the pivotal confrontational dinner scene when she first meets George and Margaret. George is immediately suspicious of this woman’s evil intentions and her desire to claim his grandson as her own.

Let Him Go is a slow-burner thriller set in the mid 1960’s and director Thomas Bezucha makes full use of the stark locations of the mid-Western plains as well as highlighting the plight of the Native American people encapsulated in the small role of Peter Dragswolf played by rising star BooBoo Stewart (Twilight).

As the film meticulously builds up tension to its fiery Dakota death battle at its conclusion, Let Him Go gives sufficient screen time to all three main leads especially Diane Lane and Kevin Costner who have acted together before as Superman’s adopted parents Martha and Jonathan Kent in director Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel.

Let Him Go get a film rating of 7 out of 10 is definitely worth seeing, a salt of the earth thriller with a surprisingly hectic ending.

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