Thriller’s loop­holes make it eas­ier to ‘Let Go’ of it

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Crossword Puzzle - BY JAY BOBBIN

A movie turned tele­vi­sion se­ries called “Fre­quency” hinged on a strange ra­dio sig­nal that en­abled some­one to com­mu­ni­cate across time with their late fa­ther. Well, some­body has taken that story (maybe not lit­er­ally, but at least the ba­sics of it have been re­tained), made a few ad­just­ments and re­named it “Don’t Let Go” in a film that will seem aw­fully fa­mil­iar to some view­ers.

This time, a de­tec­tive is griev­ing over the mur­ders of sev­eral of his rel­a­tives, so imag­ine his sur­prise when he gets a cell-phone call from a per­son who ap­par­ently is ... his re­cently slain niece! If it’s re­ally her, has time some­how bridged it­self for the two of them to put them back in con­tact? And if that’s the fact, can he pre­vent her from be­ing killed again?

That set-up leaves the po­ten­tial for a lot of loop­holes in the plot, so the best thing pos­si­ble for it is to have good ac­tors who sell the premise hard enough for the au­di­ence not to think much about those holes un­til they’ve left the theater. Luck­ily, “Don’t Let Go” has two such stars: David Oyelowo (“Selma”) as the de­tec­tive, and Storm Reid (“A Wrin­kle in Time”) as the niece.

They give the tale from screen­writer-di­rec­tor Ja­cob Estes the level of ur­gency it needs, since this isn’t just a race against time: It’s a race across time. Also quite good, for as long as he’s around, is Brian Tyree Henry (“At­lanta”) as the young woman’s fa­ther; he proves to be a great ex­am­ple of do­ing a lot with a lit­tle. Al­fred Molina and Mykelti Wil­liamson also raise the act­ing game, as they typ­i­cally do, in the time they have here.

Still, when a film is ask­ing for this big a sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief, there’s only so much the on-screen tal­ent can do. You have to buy into a whole lot, and the pic­ture doesn’t re­ally earn that in­vest­ment, which is more a re­sult of the sto­ry­telling than the per­form­ing. Plots like this tend to paint them­selves into a cor­ner even­tu­ally, and while it’s in­volv­ing for a while, “Don’t Let Go” ul­ti­mately ends up in that same bind. An­swers are sup­plied, but they’re more frus­trat­ing than en­light­en­ing ... never the pre­ferred out­come in th­ese cases.

The ded­i­cated work of Oyelowo and Reid not­with­stand­ing, in the end, it’s sim­ply eas­ier to just let go of “Don’t Let Go.”

David Oyelowo and Storm Reid

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.