Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Donovan’

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.

Boston Bandit

Honest Thief

Director: Mark Williams

Cast: Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, Jai Courtney, Jeffrey Donovan, Anthony Ramos, Robert Patrick

Director of A Family Man, Mark Williams brings macho tough guy Liam Neeson back on the big screen to star as Tom, a retired bank robber, known as the In and Out Bandit who decides upon meeting a lovely woman, Annie played by Kate Walsh (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) to announce to the FBI the location of the millions stolen over his dubious career of theft and armed robbery.

Fortunately, Annie works in a suburban Boston storage unit facility where the money is located. However, the bad apples in the FBI come to find where the money is hidden and Tom has to go up against the two rogue agents Agent Nivens wonderfully played by Australian actor Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad, The Exception, A Good Day to Die Hard) and married father of two, Agent Hall played by Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born).

Agent Nivens proves to be the most ruthless of the duo when he casually shoots his boss Agent Sam Baker played by Robert Patrick (Safe House, Walk the Line) setting off a chain of events whereby Tom goes after Nivens on the Boston streets while desperately trying to save Annie from harm.

Tom’s only ally in the FBI proves to be the by the book divorced Agent Meyers expertly played by Jeffrey Donovan (J. Edgar, Changeling).

While The Honest Thief does not match up to the adrenalin fuelled excitement of the Taken films, it is a down to earth suburban thriller which is enjoyable and has some unexpected plot twists.

The Honest Thief is worth watching and gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and while the dialogue does drag in places, the action picks up and the plot is cleverly constructed.

Go and see The Honest Thief in a cinema and support the economically stressed cinema chains during these trying times of streaming and awkward social distancing.

Another Handsome Stranger

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Director: Joe Berlinger

Cast: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, John Malkovich, Angela Sarafyan, Jeffrey Donovan, Haley Joel Osment , Brian Geraghty, Terry Kinney, Kaya Scodelario, Jim Parsons

Based on the memoir The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy by Elizabeth Kendall, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile stylishly directed by crime documentary film maker Joe Berlinger is a fascinating and deeply disturbing portrait of a devilishly handsome sociopath, the notorious serial killer Ted Bundy superbly played by the gorgeous Zac Efron (The PaperBoy, The Greatest Showman, We are Your Friends) in a determined departure from his comic roles.

Elizabeth Kendall is played by Rules Don’t Apply star Lily Collins who gives a mesmerizing performance as a young girl captivated by Bundy’s killer good looks, his charm and his demonic charisma. Kendall first meets the handsome stranger in a bar in Seattle in 1969 and Berlinger’s film is told from her perspective and rather than focus on the heinous crimes that Bundy committed in several states across America from Utah, Colorado to Florida.

Always maintaining his innocence even when he was arrested for multiple murders in Florida, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile chooses rather to focus on the glamourous media attention that Bundy received both in the Florida courthouse and earlier in Aspen, Colorado where he brazenly escaped from a courthouse in broad daylight in 1977.  

It is really the Florida trial where Bundy even was allowed to defend his own innocence against a unimpressed judge Edward D. Cowart wonderfully played by Oscar nominee John Malkovich (Dangerous Liaisons) where Berlinger’s film comes into sharp dramatic focus and where Efron excels in some superbly written dialogue between a clearly delusional and narcissistic Bundy and Judge Cowart who is desperately trying to avert the trial from becoming a sensationalist media circus.

As serial killer films go, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is original in the way it handles its subject matter but is no means gripping or scary like Jonathan Demme’s Oscar winning fictional film The Silence of the Lambs which won both Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster’s Oscars for Best Actor and Actress respectively back in 1992.

What is so disturbing besides Zac Efron’s handsome movie star face masquerading as the real Ted Bundy is the apparent ease with which Bundy eluded law enforcement agents in several states and managed to kill, decapitate and rape over 20 young women in the 1970’s before eventually being caught and sentenced to death. Viewers have to bear in mind this was decades before DNA analysis and pervasive social media.

Nevertheless Zac Efron does give a brilliant performance as Bundy aided by Lily Collins as the denial ridden ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall who once trusted Bundy with her young daughter.

Worth seeing for its originality and audacity, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile gets a film rating of 8 out 10 and is helped by a fantastic supporting cast including Jim Parsons, Jeffrey Donovan and Oscar nominee Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense).

Read more about the terrible crimes of Ted Bundy –
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Bundy

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