Monday, October 12, 2020

Don't Let Go (2019)

It can be shocking to lose a loved one, especially when they’re a generation younger than you are.  Jack is close to his niece, Ashley, enough that she calls him when her own father, Garrett, forgets to pick her up at the movie theater.  In fact, he bought her the phone for that reason.

Garrett was never really in a good place, but he does seem to be trying.  He’s a loving father and husband, but he has psychological issues and was involved with drugs.  That doesn’t make for a great combination.  One day, Garrett, Ashley and Ashley’s mother are found dead in what is ostensibly a murder-suicide.

Two weeks after the funeral, the strange stuff happens.  Jack gets a call from Ashley.  At first, it would seem like a cruel joke.  Not only does it sound like her, but the caller ID shows Ashley and the conversation is similar to one that they actually had.  When he tries to call her back, the number is disconnected.  Jack soon realizes that he has a second chance to help Ashley and her family.

There is an obvious parallel to Frequency, which I had a chance to rewatch recently.  Both involve electronic communications equipment being used to bring back a dead loved one.  That’s where the similarity ends.  Here, Jack happens to be a detective, which gives him a greater ability to directly affect change.  He’s able to work the case directly.

The big problem is keeping it a secret from Ashley.  Why it’s necessary to keep Ashley in the dark, even for a little while, isn’t clear.  It seems like it would be easier on Jack and Ashley to let her in on it immediately.

There’s also the good guy who might be in on it.  I’ve always hated when the protagonist gives vital information to a trusted friend only to find out that they’re the bad guy, or are in the pocket of the bad guy.  Movies like this tend to keep you guessing who really did what, and with good reason.

The movie does have a few weak spots, but hits a lot more than it misses.  There are a few cliché moments, like the one seemingly innocent line proving crucial.  Yes, I know that there’s a name for it.  Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it makes for a great callback.  You have to use it wisely.

Overall, it does have a great feel to it.  The race against time isn’t overused, but you can feel it.  The story does seem a little more realistic than Frequency.  It seems contrived to use a ham radio to communicate.  Here, the cell phones are at least portable.

I’m not saying that it’s necessarily better or worse than other supernatural movies, or even police movies.  However, it is a little different.  I think those that saw Frequency and didn’t care for it might like Don’t Let Go.  It doesn’t bog us down with all of the unintended consequences of changing history.  The plot is fairly straightforward and easy to follow.  If you’re into this kind of movie, I’d recommend watching it.

IMDb page

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