As the long, bleak, and frankly quite rubbish winter continues and COVID restrictions become even more restrictive, it is time to once again turn your attention away from the madness of the outside world, and instead look to a movie for salvation. The movie is Let Him Go – a new Kevin Costner and Diane Lane picture which has just arrived in the UK.
Let Him Go opened in cinemas today, but if you are living in parts of the UK where cinemas are currently closed (which is almost everywhere), then you will be pleased to know you can also stream this one online. Let Him Go is currently available to rent through Amazon where it carries the wallet-friendly price of £5.99.
Directed by Thomas Bezucha, Let Him Go is based on the book of the same name, by Larry Watson, and follows the story of two grandparents who attempt to return their grandson to their family home, after he ends up in an abusive situation. The movie is beautifully shot, incredibly engaging, at times very tense, and quite simply superb.
Set during the 1960s, the film follows George and Margaret Blackledge who live on a farm with their son, daughter-in-law Lorna, and their grandson Jimmy. They are happy and living a somewhat idyllic life until tragedy strikes, and their son dies in a horse-riding accident.
Three years later, Lorna remarries and moves herself and Jimmy out of the family home to live with her new husband, Donnie. George and Margaret are unhappy with the situation, but plan to maintain contact with Lorna and Jimmy, as they will be living close by.
One day, while out running an errand, Margaret witnesses Donnie being physically and verbally abusive to Lorna and Jimmy. The next day, she calls in at Lorna’s home to talk about the incident, only to discover Lorna, Donnie, and Jimmy, have moved away rather abruptly.
Worried about the safety of Lorna and their grandson, Margaret and George set out on a journey to track them down. But when they catch up with Lorna, they find themselves in a dire and desperate situation and crossing paths with Donnie’s fierce mother, Blanche.
Let Him Go blends together elements of a Western, with those of a thriller. It features stand-out performances from Costner and Lane, as well as a scene-stealing turn from Lesley Manville as the menacing Blanche.
There is a scene in particular, where Costner, Lane, and Manville meet for the first time in a sort-of ‘family’ gathering, but what should be a warm and welcoming moment, quickly descends into something else entirely. It is a nail-biting sequence, which gives all three actors the opportunity to highlight their skills, and exposes the darkness that exists within the film.
And I mention the darkness in the movie, because early into the picture, Let Him Go gives off the impression that this is a gentle tale, tinged with a little bit of sadness and tragedy. But don’t be fooled – when the movie needs to go to some tough places it does so, adding a real edge to the story.
Let Him Go is a movie which draws you in with some wonderful imagery, recalling the look and feel of a John Ford picture, but maintains your attention with a story that has some captivating moments. It is stunning, it is tense, it is everything in between and more, and it never puts a foot wrong.
Due to the coronavirus, and the way in which Let Him Go is being released in the UK, this movie is probably not going to reach the audience it would have (and should have) had it been released prior to 2020 – and this is a monumental shame. Let Him Go is a fantastic piece of filmmaking, which deserves heaps of praise and lots of attention.
Even at this late stage in the year, when audiences have been treated to fantastic movies such as Parasite, JoJo Rabbit, and The Invisible Man, Let Him Go sneaks in at the eleventh hour, to stand toe-to-toe with its peers. For me, this is one of the best films of the year, is something truly special, and is most certainly one to check out as soon as you can.
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