Movies In Focus called writer-director Thomas Bezucha‘s Let Him Go is one of the best thrillers of the year. In fact, that quote made some of the film’s promotional material for its UK release (see above). I’m not the only one blown away by the film – Barack Obama put Let Him Go on his list of favourite films of 2020 (see below).
Bezucha’s film is an adaptation of Larry Watson’s novel and it stars Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as George and Margaret Blackledge, a couple who will stop at nothing to get their grandson back from a clan of evil ne’er-do-wels led Lesley Manville.
The 1960s-set film is an intelligent slice of grown-up cinema, which starts as a drama and then veers into horror territory. Let Him Go is a slow burner, but when it ignites the fire rages, brutally. Bezucha’s film also includes elements of the western and this amalgamation of genres means that you never really know where the plot will go – and it takes the audience into some very dark places.
Diane Lane delivers her best performance in years and she’s the emotional heart of the film as the grandmother eager to rescue her grandson. Meanwhile, Kevin Costner is brilliant as the conflicted retired lawman who will do anything for his wife. Lane and Costner make for a terrific pairing and they’re a joy to watch on screen. They’ve previously played a husband and wife in Zack Snyder’s Superman film, Man Of Steel and their on-screen history carries over into this more grounded film. It offers the duo a chance to dig deep into characterisation and drama as a couple who are grieving following the death of their son.
Lesley Manville chews the scenery as Blanche Weboy, the matriarch of the Weboy family. The Weboys are a rough fearsome family into which the Blackledge’s son’s widow (Kayli Carter) has married. She’s the perfect foil to Costner and Lane’s straight-laced and law abiding husband and wife.
Brilliantly acted and beautifully shot, Let Him Go is an intelligent thriller which is loaded with tension and surprises. It’s thrilling and brutal and it will have a lasting impact on its audience long after the credits have rolled.
Like everyone else, we were stuck inside a lot this year, and with streaming further blurring the lines between theatrical movies and television features, I’ve expanded the list to include visual storytelling that I’ve enjoyed this year, regardless of format. pic.twitter.com/a8BS8jDkSs— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 18, 2020