Eye For Film >> Movies >> Never Let Go (2015) Film Review
Never Let Go
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
When a child goes missing, the opening titles tell us, the first three hours are critical. If they are not found within that time, the chances of ever finding them alive plummet.
Putting it this way is a bit over the top - it neglects to note that the vast majority of children come home by themselves within that time. But there's nothing over the top about the reaction of this film's heroine when her child is taken. It's a terror every parent will have felt at one time or another, if only for a few seconds. Faced with that situation, ordinary concerns fly out of the window. Most people would do absolutely anything to get the child back.
Like the heroes of other such films, Lisa (Angela Dixon) happens to have the advantage of special training and contacts in the US secret service. Unlike films like Taken, this film isn't weighed down by an infantalising approach to the kidnap victim, as she's only five months old - and, remarkably, writer/director Howard J Ford still manages to give her some agency. The other significant difference is that this film never slows down. Well aware of that three hour window, Lisa throws herself into the chase, running, climbing, jumping, fighting, doing whatever it takes to stay on the trail of her stolen baby. Even her phone calls are frantic, with danger always close at hand. The audience barely gets chance to catch its breath.
There are echoes of Run Lola Run in this frenetically paced film. Plot twists come as a genuine surprise simply because one hasn't had time to think. One a first viewing, it's all too easy to overlook the quality of the stunt work too, but there's some really impressive stuff here, and it makes viewing a visceral experience. Ford shows the same sense of epic scale and the same feel for Morocco, where the action is set, that he did for India in The Dead 2, but there's a wholly new vigour to this. His strong direction and a gripping central performance lift it well above its peers.
Reactions to Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road and to the return of Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys are a reminder of how rare strong female action heroes are, so getting a third in one year is a real treat, and Dixon has certainly got what it takes. Not only does she have the physical prowess to convince in the role, she has the acting muscle to carry a complex backstory and the intensity to keep us believing in her, no matter what she does.
Action films this thrilling are few and far between, so do yourself a favour and see it on the biggest screen you can.Reviewed on: 28 Jul 2015