Let Him Go is a gripping thriller that plays out like a Western, brimming with star power to back up its simple concept. When a retired couple recovering from heartache watches their daughter-in-law remarry into an abusive relationship, they take matters into their own hands to make sure that their grandson is safe.
George Blackledge (Kevin Costner) is a retired sheriff turned Montana rancher, who still hangs on to his pistol and badge. His wife Margaret (Diane Lane) swapped out breaking horses for homemaking. But their ideal situation changes to heartache when their son dies in an accident, leaving behind their daughter-in-law, Lorna (Kayli Carter) and grandson, Jimmy.
Three years later, a handsome young man named Donnie (Will Brittain) has swept through town and won Lorna’s heart in a whirlwind romance and marriage. Unfortunately, he’s not as kind as he appeared at first glance, turning abusive to both Lorna and Jimmy in a heartbeat. But when he suddenly takes them back to where his own family lives in North Dakota, Margaret’s gut instincts tell her that something is off.
Fueled by a hunch, Margaret goes on a mission to make sure what is left of her lineage is safe. George goes along for some extra muscle, though he’s a bit more wary of their legal rights to actually do anything about the situation. What they discover is that Donnie is actually part of the Weboy family clan, who have a huge compound that’s far enough away from town that anyone local knows not to mess with them.
Outmanned and outgunned, a simple rescue mission becomes a struggle for survival when the family matriarch, Blanche Weboy (Lesley Manville) instantly takes a dislike to George and Margaret. They then have one tough issue to resolve: making the Weboy clan let their grandson go?
Directed and adapted for the screen by Thomas Bezucha (Monte Carlo, The Family Stone) Let Him Go provides plenty of opportunities for his stars to truly shine. Small, terse moments are masterfully handled to let tension build and break in a very relatable and human way. The depth of the characters heightens the drama, while the stakes are constantly raised to the breaking point.
The all-star cast are treated to roles they can really sink their teeth into. With almost everyone in the film being both likeable and unlikeable, there’s an element of realism, despite the clear delineation between the good guys and the bad. The violence restrained in the first half of the film makes the actualized violence less abrupt as the movie shifts gears. The beautiful scenery surrounding the shocking violence is a contradiction that perfectly matches the temperament of most of the characters.
Let Him Go is as charming as it is rough around the edges. Technically proficient and well played, the film rollicks through material that is cringe worthy not because it’s badly executed, but because it pushes past the edge of the comfort zone. For the hardy and forewarned, there is plenty of grit in this story to enjoy.