Any plot summary of let him go inevitably makes the movie a disservice.
After all, the basic narrative of let him go invites you to compare “Da’ction” Genre popularized by Taken. (Actually, Honest thief is out in theaters right now, proving that even the pandemic can’t kill Liam Neeson’s midlife action film. let him go is a story about an elderly couple who set out on a journey to save their lost daughter-in-law and grandson from an increasingly threatening situation. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that George and Margaret are starting a rescue mission in hostile territory.
In reality, Thomas Bezucha’s film is a much more meditative and contemplative affair than this description suggests. let him go offers a calm and introspective character study of an elderly couple who venture through the wilderness of the American heartland and navigate their shared grief. This offers the loss of his son in a freak accident as well as concern for the possible fate of his grandson. A lot of let him go consists of George and Margaret who try to navigate through a strange world, but also among each other.
The results are convincing. let him go offers flashes of violence and brutality, but it works best as a mood piece of sorts. It’s a melancholy reflection on a distorted and hostile landscape that serves as an update of the classic Western template for modernity.
Bezucha understands what he’s working with let him go. Leads Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are essentially repeating their roles man of Steelwhere the couple was cast as Superman’s adoptive parents. Once again, Costner and Lane are the embodiment of a certain romantic American rural archetype that seems to have been conjured straight from the collective imagination. Your life is simple and honest and at times feels like a fantasy.
On the ranch they share, George and Margaret built what looked like paradise for each other. Indeed, the opening scenes depicting the sudden and tragic loss of their son hint at something et in Arcadia Egoa reminder that there is no place Completely untouched by death and tragedy. The film carries another reminder that George and Margaret know enough about death from their time on the ranch, but it is portrayed as encroachment and aberration.
The casting is a huge part of the job here. Even outside of his collaboration with Lane man of SteelIn Costner’s later years, he became a walking embodiment of harsh Americana. This is perhaps most obvious when watching recent movies like The muggersbut also when he moved to television in Yellowstone. In fact, it’s not too difficult to imagine something new let him go as written by Yellowstone Creator Taylor Sheridan as a companion to his films like Hell or high water and Wind river.
As played by Costner and Lane, George and Margaret occasionally feel like characters stepping out of a Norman Rockwell painting into a world far more hostile and deceptive than their lives up to that point would suggest. let him go It is very important to suggest this tension with the character of Margaret who packs both a revolver and a delicious homemade cake for her journey into the dark.
As much as George and Margaret lead an idyllic life, let him go suggests that real horror awaits George and Margaret in the world. George may know this better than Margaret. Much is made of the fact that he spent “Over Thirty Years” as a sheriff. He knows how the world is, even when he brings order. It’s not hard to imagine Costner’s stoic attorney having coffee with Tommy Lee Jones’ Sheriff Ed Tom Bell No country for old menand wondered when things would break down or if the world ever made sense.
There is a palpable and growing sense of discomfort that permeates let him goand Bezucha does an excellent job of slowly increasing the temperature as the film runs. That discomfort begins with Margaret’s look at a small scene of domestic abuse in public, a drama that peered through a car windshield and begins with the ice cream falling from a young child’s cone. This little act of brutality is enough to get Margaret to act, recover her grandson from his new stepfather, while bringing the last piece of her son home in the process.
let him go there is a fine line between a pulpy exploitation thriller and a more intimate character study. The film weaves the familiar tropes of rural horror into the story when it turns out that her daughter-in-law has married into the ominous Weboy clan. The Weboys are dominated by a brutal matriarch Blanche who owns her young very much. Blanche is a monstrous mother whose perverted desire to assert dominance over her offspring is a nightmarish mirror to Margaret’s increasingly hectic devotion to bringing her own grandson home.
However, let him go knows exactly how far to push these elements and when to retract them. There are several sequences let him go These are effective demonstrations of a disturbing escalation, including a fantastic late night motel room scene, but much of the film is devoted to conversation between George and Margaret to find out where they stand. both in this brutal world and in relation to each other. Both Costner and Lane have an impressive steeliness that wears off at key moments, suggesting both vulnerability and despair.
In many ways let him go feels like a stronger version of the movie that The devil all the time wanted to be. Both are pulpy rural goths of generational debt, meditating on the challenges of navigating such a hostile world where the family can both empower and suffocate. However, The devil all the time attempts to tell his story on an epic canvas, and offers a sprawling adventure that stretches too thin and too far to support the weight of it. In contrast, let him go opts for a more intimate and contemplative approach that serves the story well.