Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Weight (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Few things are as awkward as a post-divorce situation where feelings remain amicable but one ex-spouse has moved on with life and the other has not. Right at the start of The Weight, Julie (MJ Brackin) asks the local sheriff (Robert Leeshock) to put out a missing persons alert on her former husband Thad (Clayne Crawford); the sheriff immediately suggests that he might simply not want her to know where he is. In fact, Thad has been trying to find a new direction, but in doing so he has found himself in dangerous company. Julie might be the only person who can help him - or her obsessive interest might put him at still greater risk.
Apparently based on real events in the life of director Thomas Rennier, The Weight is concerned small town crime and the particular viciousness that can develop when everyone knows everyone and some people have secrets. Though Crawford is ostensibly the lead, with the storyline moving around in time to tell parts of his story that Julie, upon hiring a private detective, only slowly lears about, it's really Brackin who carries the film. Her carefully balanced performance keeps us guessing as to how much she has really been stalking her ex; there's a finely judged creepiness to it but we never doubt her love for him, nor her perception of herself as a reasonable person. The script is of variable quality but scenes dealing with this behaviour are strong.
Alongside Brackin, Ken Hudson Campbell works well enough in the detective role but is really treading water, whilst Heather Roop is all ham and glam as the ruthless woman Thad has gotten too close to. Her obsession with making money speaks of small town desperation, but sits oddly askew with a subplot about a plaanned assassination - one can only assume that killers stuck in such out of the way places charge well below the usual market rates. There are quirky little touches here which, in their way, make things seem more realistic, but they don't amount to enough to distinguish the film from the many others out there with similar themes.
Overall, there's a curious lack of energy about The Weight. Sometimes this happens when a script has personal relevance to the director - it's all too easy to imagine that what is intensely meaningful to oneself will seem similarly important to others, and it can be hard to get the distance necessary to determine what works and what doesn't. So despite some good work in minor roles, the occasional moody bit of landscape photography and very little one could actually say was bad, this is a film weighed down by its simple ambitions, never really able to establish a clear identity of its own.Reviewed on: 08 Sep 2017