Thomas Bezucha (“The Family Stone”) directs this heartfelt and riveting tale of good versus evil in the tradition of the classic Western. As affectionate as it is apprehensive, “Let Him Go” includes a visual vocabulary touching on many films of the genre, but it is the cozy ease in storytelling and its swift plot that keep you compelled.
George (Kevin Costner) is a reticent and soft spoken former sheriff in Montana who wrestles with demons, yet he is content with his adventures along with the decisions in his life. Margaret (Diane Lane) is his serious and sweet-tempered wife who has been his faithful partner through every joy and setback. It is wondrous to watch this all without the actors saying a word. The emotions exist on their faces as combined experiences.
It is a dark day when Margaret discovers their son is missing and he is found along a creek, dead.
Their son’s widow Lorna (Kayli Carter) becomes a permanent part of the family and she marries the sullen and violent Donnie (Will Brittain).
In a voyeuristic Hitchcock scene, Margaret sees Donnie hit Lorna and aggressively push the grandson Jimmie.
Margaret resolves to convince Lorna to let Jimmie live with them.
Margaret and George witness a parade of horrors and they soon see that Lorna’s new family is petty, brutal and sadistic.
The head villain is Blanche (Lesley Manville) and Manville gives a singular hectic performance that you will not soon forget.
Margaret is aided by Booboo Stewart who plays a sensitive Native American teen.
Echoing many films from “Shane” and “Psycho” to “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” and “The Horse Whisperer,” this film has first-rate suspense in the gothic tradition but more than that the film has a poignant meaning in its wistful pauses and open expanses of country, speaking of half forgotten joys, misplaced ghosts and chances not taken. Through it all there is a subtle wink in Costner’s role as if he knows he’s been with us all these many years and that he is here to show us the way to the cinema, once again in these uncertain times.
“Let Him Go” creates a good bit of hair- raising fun and when you add the twinkle in Kevin Costner’s eye, it goes down so much better.
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