Linda Cook review: ‘Let Him Go’ is one of the year’s best

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At first, “Let Him Go” seems like a drama about loss.

That is, until it turns into a thriller and, eventually, a bloodbath.

Be warned: This is not family fare, and it is not for the nervous. Don’t let its gorgeous Western cinematography or its beautiful score by Michael Giacchino fool you: This is a story about two families that becomes ugly just as swiftly the characters’ tempers flare.

Diane Lane and Kevin Costner (back together again after playing Superman’s parents in “Man of Steel”) play the long-married Margaret and George, who live on a Montana ranch in the early 1960s.
Their son, his wife Lorna and their baby live with them – that is, until tragedy strikes.

Lorna, who never got along well with her in-laws, remarries. Her new husband is Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain,) an abusive ne’er-do-well who obviously will make life more difficult for Lorna, her son and Margaret and George, who only want to see their beloved grandson.

When the two take off with the little boy and don’t even say goodbye, Margaret announces she’s going to fetch their grandchild – whether George, a former sheriff, wants to accompany her.
Of course George goes with her. And the two find what they’re looking for … and much, much more, especially in the person of Donnie’s mother (the wonderful British actress Lesley Manville,) the personification of evil, who immediately lets the couple know they aren’t welcome near their grandson or former daughter-in-law.

Written and directed by Thomas Bezucha, the film is based on the novel by Larry Watson. With its smart dialogue and memorable, multi-faceted characters, it’s one of the finest of 2020.

Although it’s marvelous to see Costner and Lane together – allowing their characters to communicate without dialogue – it’s equally engaging to watch Manville inhabit a villainess so despicable you won’t be able to get her out of your head.

Don’t let this one go.

4 out of 4 stars

Running time: Two hours.

Rated: R for violence and foul language.

At Cinemark, Davenport.

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