Posts Tagged ‘Will Brittain’

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.

Where Myths and Science Meet

Kong: Skull Island

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Corey Hawkins, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Richard Jenkins, Thomas Mann

The allusions to Apocalypse Now and Joseph Conrad’s novel The Heart of Darkness are rife in newcomer director Jordan Vogt-Roberts action packed seventies set adventure film Kong: Skull Island.

Featuring an international cast including British actor Tom Hiddleston, Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room), John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly and Tian Jing (The Great Wall), Kong: Skull Island wastes no time on characterization or dramatic build up but rushes straight into an adrenaline filled action film set at the end of the Vietnam war in 1973.

With a retro seventies soundtrack to match, Bill Randa played by John Goodman and Houston Brooks played by 24: Legacy’s Corey Hawkins get the go ahead from Senator Willis briefly played by Richard Jenkins (Eat, Pray, Love) to assemble a  military team and journey to a mysterious storm ridden island in the South Pacific on an exploratory mission.

The team consists of soldiers hanging for some more action after the American withdrawal from Vietnam including Preston Packard played by Samuel L. Jackson and Cole played by Shea Whigham (American Hustle) along with anti-war photographer Mason Weaver played by Larson and golden boy James Conrad, played by Hiddleston (Thor: The Dark World).

As they approach Skull Island and drop seismic charges on the lush and malignant landscape, the team soon discover that a massive beast is guarding the island from vicious lizards. That beast is King Kong, that giant gorilla last seen on top of the Empire State building with a blond in his palm. Reference Peter Jackson’s 2005 epic King Kong.

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts cleverly wastes no time in cutting straight to the action as various teams on the island are separated only to be individually preyed upon by a variety of nefarious creatures including giant spiders. While Packard and his band of mercenary soldiers are keen on annihilating Kong, Mason and James stumble upon Hank Marlow, a crazed but good natured World War II pilot who accidentally landed on Skull Island back in 1944 and never left, even befriending the silent locals who worship Kong as their sole protector.

Marlow is superbly played by character actor John C. Reilly, a role clearly referencing Dennis Hopper’s frenetic photojournalist in Apocalypse Now without the looming intensity of a Mister Kurtz watching over his horrific empire. Reilly brings empathy to the role of Marlow, another clear reference to The Heart of Darkness and advises the more sympathetic team that Kong is not that bad. A fact which is vividly illustrated by Mason Weaver’s wonderful encounter with the gigantic beast.

Brie Larson gives a resilient performance as the only strong female lead in a basically all male film and has the best screen time with Kong, realizing that much like those brave soldiers hunting Kong, they are all as confused about this rapid reversal in the environmental food chain.

Kong: Skull Island is unadulterated adventure, punctuated with cool photographic stills of exotic ethnography to capture a unique and terrifying experience where myth and science meet.

With the help of a groovy seventies soundtrack and a stand out performance by John C. Reilly, Kong Skull Island gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10. Highly recommended viewing.

 

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