The new movie “Let Him Go” is the first movie released in theaters since the Pandemic that is high quality, and with the bankable stars: Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, with a great story and great cinematography – in this case, the barren vistas of North Dakota.
The story here is mostly believable, all the way up to the end, when there is an expected Hollywood climax. In real life, nobody would do what the characters do at the end of this movie. Within these two hours are scenes of domestic abuse, child abuse, massive injustice, a criminal family known as the “Weboys” and impressive scenes of conflict and tension performed at an extremely high level.
Margaret and George Blackledge live on a horse ranch in very rural North Dakota where life is cold, flat and at times very harsh. Ever since I saw the great movie “Fargo” in 1996 I have always wondered why anyone would want to live in cold, flat and sparsely populated places like North and South Dakota. At the start of this story Margaret and George are living with their son, his wife and their infant son and then, unfortunate events do occur that lead them into having to track down their grandson Their search leads them to meet a criminal family known as the Weboy’s in an even more rural area of North Dakota.
As the Blackledge’s try to visit with their grandson, a series of high stress events happen, starting with a dinner, where the Blackledge’s and Weboy’s meet for the first time – arguably the best acting in this film. A line is drawn where the Weboy’s make it very clear that they do not want the Blackledge’s to see their own grandson ever again.
The acting throughout this movie is outstanding, and the actress Leslie Manville is a standout with her role as Blanch Weboy, the patriarch of the Weboy family. Manville’s acting is so strong, she may just be nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress, despite this depleated Pandemic movie year.
Many years ago I learned that one of the fine arts of screenwriting is the use of reflection to show something early in a story, that gets used again in a much more significant way later. This movie has an example of a reflection that starts with Margaret Blackledge whispering in an ear of a dying horse, and ends with one of the most powerful examples of refection that I have ever seen in a movie.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Let Him Go are only around 75%, but my rating is a solid 90% for the great story and acting. Movies like this one remind many of us that one of the reasons why we go to the movies is because very often a great injustice is revenged. Unfortunately real life far too often, does not work that way. I highly recommend this film.