Let Him Go is a slow-burning neo-western thriller that creates moments of unease. The little moments of intimacy shared between the lead characters add to the build-up and makes us care more about them, making the scenes of violence and conflict all the more shocking.
We follow retired sheriff George Blackledge (Kevin Costner) and his wife Margaret (Diane Lane) in the early 1960s as they grieve the tragic death of their son James (Ryan Bruce). James leaves behind his wife Lorna (Kayli Carter) and his newborn son Jimmy. Time passes, and Lorna marries Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain), who is physically abusive towards her and Jimmy. Margaret witnesses the abuse and convinces George that the situation is serious enough for them to intervene. But before they can confront Donnie, they find out he has taken Lorna and Jimmy away from Montana to live with his family in Gladstone, North Dakota.
Determined to find their only grandson and rescue Lorna from an abusive husband, George and Margaret travel for miles to find them.
What really intrigued me about the story is its characters and how they interact with one another. George is a man who gives off a seasoned veteran type of vibe — a man who just needs a drink. He’s reliable, quiet, and very straightforward. Margaret is more vocal and expressive, compared to her husband’s reserved nature. She is persistent and also just as stern as George.
The two characters complement each other very well, covering each other’s faults as they lean on one another. Costner and Lane’s performances really give the feeling that they are a couple who have been together for a very long time.
The movie gives time for their characters to develop, making them much more interesting and getting the audience more invested in them. The only limiting factor is the movie’s runtime, leaving me asking for more from some of its characters.
I found the Weboys to be interesting. Throughout the movie we hear about their infamy and reputation among the locals. Blanche (Lesley Manville) is an intense and manipulative woman who has complete control over her boys. The only real downside of Blanche and the Weboys is that we did not get to see enough of them and their backstory, but that has more to do with the movie’s already two-hour runtime.
Along with the characters, the movie’s slow burn utilized by director Thomas Bezucha is done wonderfully well. From a dinner scene to a motel room scene later in the film, Bezucha makes the audience so invested in the characters and their problems that when it is time to finally break the tension, it is shocking. What adds to the shock value is the story’s unpredictability. As an audience, we understand the situation the characters are in, but when their backs are against the wall, they act out of desperation, doing things that we don’t see coming.
Let Him Go is a thriller with interesting characters caught in tragic situations.
The bonus features are sparse — no bloopers, no deleted scenes, but there are three featurettes:
The Blackledges: Kevin Costner & Diane Lane – Stars Diane Lane and Kevin Costner share personal insights into their characters and why finally having the chance to work together was an opportunity neither party could pass up.
The Making of LET HIM GO – Take a deeper look at the emotional journey the Blackledges embark on, the period specific production design, and Director/Writer Thomas Bezucha’s inspiration in adapting the novel for screen.
Lighting the Way: Thomas Bezucha – Director/Writer Thomas Bezucha shares his process in developing the story while the cast and crew discuss what makes him the perfect person to bring this film to life.
Let Him Go is available today (February 2, 2021) on DVD, Blu-ray, VOD and Digital. If you have seen Let Him Go and would like to rate/review it yourself, click here. ~Sean Olegario
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