Directed by: Jacob Estes
Written by: Jacob Estes
Starring: David Oyelowo, Storm Reid, Mykelti Williamson, Brian Tyree Henry & Alfred Molina
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Fantasy
Rated: R (for violence, bloody images, and language)
Runtime: 1 hr. 43 min.
Studio: Blumhouse Tilt
Don’t Let Go is a frustrating film and as a film lover, there isn’t anything more disappointing than watching a mediocre film squander its potential. The first fifteen minutes gear you up for one hell of an emotional gut punch, which it delivers shortly after we’re introduced to a young girl by the name of Ashley (Storm Reid), who predictably must call upon her Uncle Jack (David Oyelowo), who daylights as an LAPD detective, for a ride home after the movies. As it turns out, Ashely’s parents aren’t the most reliable guardians. Thankfully, her uncle is always there to pick up the slack.
Jack’s steadfast dedication to his niece has fostered a close-knit bond between the two, which director Jacob Estes simply but successfully establishes during a late night trip to the pair’s favorite cafe that will surely put a smile on your face. Much of the credit here deservedly goes to the stars, both of whom give wonderful performances here. It will also leave you susceptible to the heartbreak I hinted at earlier, which comes after Ashley and her parents are mysteriously and brutally murdered at the hands of… well, nobody knows. After a brief attempt to drown his sorrows in booze and some brotherly consultation from best friend and fellow detective Bobby (Mykelti Williamson), Jack receives an unexpected phone call from– you guessed it– Ashley herself. But how?! Is she still alive? Is she calling long distance from beyond the grave? Or is Jack simply starting to lose his marbles? The truth, as it turns out, is a fan of the Dennis Quaid film Frequency because Ashley is actually calling from a few days in the past and without any knowledge of her ugly fate or that she’s speaking to Jack in the future.
When it comes to time travel in movies, I typically try not getting too hung up on the details. Every film that deals with the notion inevitably runs into plenty of inconsistencies with its own rules and you could spend an entire review bashing its messy theoretics. Since I have no interest in doing so, I’ll push on by saying that despite my leniency in this area, Don’t Let Go still finds a way to bog itself down with an overly complicated plot that feels more like work and less like entertainment trying to make sense of it.
And while you will struggle to comprehend exactly what’s going on inside a film that clearly doesn’t understand its own rules, you can rest assured knowing how it will all play out. Estes’ script doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination. There are only a small handful of characters, so when the inevitable reveal happens, you’re already miles ahead and likely ready for the credits to roll.
That’s my review of Don’t Let Go? Have you checked out this film yet? If so, what did you make of it? Or is this not even something on your radar? I’d love to hear from you, so hit me up in the comments below and let me know!