Let Him Go is a modern-day western, that laces a thrilling ride with a fine thread of maturity. The film has been written and directed by Thomas Bezucha and is based on a novel by Larry Watson of the same name. Let Him Go sets a distinct tone for itself from the inception. The gestures, the writing, the performances, the setting, and everything else has a novelty of its own. If you keenly observe then it’s not anything that we haven’t seen before. But the perspective of the filmmaker makes it into something that you would not have witnessed before.
The dynamics of the actors especially Lesley Manville, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane is not only gripping but to an extent is the driving force behind the stimulation one gets while watching the film. I mention here dynamics and not the performance for a reason. No doubt the performances are astounding and showcase a deep level of understanding. But the adept way in which the performers have exchanged energies among themselves, coordinated and complemented each other is just fascinating to watch. They have capitalized over every scene and squeezed out the desired emotions and even exponentially increased it to a level of satisfaction.
‘Let Him Go’ Summary
A retired sheriff George Blackledge lives in Montana where he also owns a ranch. His wife Margaret, is an equestrian and has had an intimate bond with every stallion she has ever owned. Their son James meets a tragic end when he falls from the back of a horse. His wife Lorna and son Jimmy suffer from this loss a great deal. Not only Lorna loses her husband but now has to deal with the infuriating and hypocritical standards of the society as a widow. A kind of social stigma of being a widow, validation from the society, adhering to the moral standards and financial dependency, I believe, were some reasons why Lorna decided to get married to Donnie Weboy, after 3 years of James’s demise. It was just a mere stroke of luck that Margaret one day saw that Donnie physically abused her grandson Jimmy and even Lorna on the road. Margaret becomes sure that this was not a one-time thing. She has reasons to believe that the life of her grandson is in grave danger. Maybe not danger as such but the apprehension of fear under which that boy is going to spend the rest of his life made Margaret uneasy and in a state of restlessness. She decides to go and rescue her grandson. Little does she know that she was going to cause a shift in the equilibrium, the tremors of which will fall on her own people. Margaret finds out that Donnie has left for his hometown and taken Lorna and Jimmy with him.
The Weboy family enjoyed absolute autonomy and were known for their deadly vigour. Not even the police interfered in their matters. That is what is advised to Margaret and George once they reach the doomed lands of the Weboy territory. They are called for dinner over at the Weboy’s. They meet the chieftain, Blanche Weboy, mother of Donnie. She declares her supremacy over the dinner table. Her menacing looks are enough to establish her feral persona. She makes it clear that it is her dominions and she is the uncrowned emperor.
But ferocity is met with resilience. Margaret overlooks the perils. Her love for the family forces her to take certain inevitable steps for which she pays a heavy price.
The Power of Restraint
Sometimes the intensity is made evident not by overt action but restraining those inevitable actions that fit the puzzle. The narrative greatly benefits from those well written and edited scenes where small gestures speak in volumes. You understand the hierarchy of power by just a simple gesture. You understand the bond, the emotions, the evolutions of each and every character by using minimal dialogues. Silence has its own language. Actually, I believe it is the most powerful tool for communication.
The bond that George and Margaret’s share is mature and sophisticated. They have qualified the test of time. Together they have evolved and the narrative doesn’t miss a chance to showcase that. It’s satisfying to watch both the performers indulge into the world so effortlessly.
Blanche Weboy on the other hand is like a feral and cunning vulture, ready to prowl any moment. Leslie Manville has to be applauded for bringing a sort of tenacity to her already ghastly demeanour. She is the one who looks more lethal even in front of her strong-armed, massive build outlaw family member, maybe because she is the brains behind all that brawns.
Let Him Go is a western that deals with contemporary issues. It is an enrapturing ride mainly because it doesn’t fall prey to the stereotypes of the genre. The characters are real and are heavily benefited from some strong writing and well-structured scenes. It is pleasant to watch something unobvious that serves as a concoction of both entertainment and sagaciousness.
Let Him Go is available for Video on Demand.
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