Now this is one Hell of a family feud.
The new Neo-western drama “Let Him Go,” stars Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, and Lesley Manville in three gripping performances in a movie uses the words “custody battle” loosely. It’s about good prevailing over evil, and about where specific individuals have been since a tragedy.
Thomas Bezucha (“The Family Stone”) directs and writes the screenplay, which is based off Larry Watson’s novel, and what he delivers is a dangerous, thrilling, and emotionally complex drama that keeps you mourning for the main characters, rooting for their thriving, and at the edge of your seat. All these qualities never cease.
The story begins in 1960s Montana, where we meet a retired sheriff named George Blackledge (Costner), his wife Margaret (Lane), their son James (Ryan Bruce), his wife Lorna (Kayli Carter), and their baby boy Jimmy. When their son dies in a horse accident, Lorna moves on with a new husband named Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain), who turns out to be an abusive prick. Margaret saw him picking on little Jimmy (Bram and Otto Hornung), and Lorna failing to protect him. And when she tries to see them, she finds out Donnie took them to his abode in Gladstone, North Dakota. Being the loving grandparents, they must travel to the Weboy residence to rescue the child.
Margaret is the more strong-willed one, and even steals George’s gun if he wasn’t going to come along. They eventually meet Donnie’s uncle Bill (Jeffrey Donovan) and mother Blanche (Manville) up at their ranch, and they’re wolves in sheep’s clothing, who basically hold Lorna and Jimmy prisoners of their abuse. Therefore, the grandparents must rescue her and her boy.
Before they meet the bad family, they come across a young Indian loner named Peter Dragwolf (Booboo Stewart), who was a victim of the government’s abuse, and aids George and Margaret in their rescue mission. These segments reminded me of two recent westerns of its kind like “Hell or High Water” and “Wind River,” because of pure realism and the boy’s words of wisdom.
There’s a violent scene later in the film that I’m not sure movie-goers will want to see, but then again, it wouldn’t be the first one to represent that moment. In fact, it’s further proof that you loathe, no, hate the Weboys. Manville, who portrays the bad mother, should be up for Oscar consideration for Best Supporting Actress with how well she adapts to her character, and how she never lets go.
Lane is also perfect when she proves how strong-willed and committed her character is towards the boy’s safety. She must also come to terms with the loss of her son, and the actress is able to ease in to her, and provides every ounce of courage she can. Costner is also believable as the retired sheriff, who proves his love for his family, and both these actors have chemistry. And the supporting work from Donovan, Stewart, and Carter are all equally excellent.
“Let Him Go” adapts from one situation to the next, and shifts the mood and tone. It almost feels like an old-fashioned western if you really look at it. This family drama deals with love, loss, evil, and protection. It’s about two people and them caring about two others, who, in this case, are their daughter-in-law and grandson. They want to make things right, and it all pays off well. Not to spoil anything, but you will be riveted by its results.