Monday 26 December 2022

Movie Review: The Desperate Hour (2021)

Also Known As: Lakewood
Genre: Drama Thriller
Director: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Naomi Watts
Running Time: 84 minutes

Synopsis: In the suburban community of Lakewood, Amy (Naomi Watts) is still dealing with the loss of her husband in a car crash a year prior. Her teenaged son Noah is also brooding, and on this morning Amy finds it difficult to prod him out of bed to go to school. She goes for a run deep into the surrounding woods, but a cell phone alert indicates an unfolding crisis at the high school. Amy has no access to a car, and has to make a frantic long run back, relying on phone calls to piece together what is going on - and whether Noah is involved.

What Works Well: Director Phillip Noyce and star Naomi Watts wring every bit of tension out of Chris Sparling's one-woman-with-a-phone dramatic thriller. Watts sells a mother's sense of dread and increasing desperation with aplomb, and her emotions - uncertainty, concern, panic, denial, acceptance, gritty determination - are sometimes sequential and at other times in glorious competition. An ecosystem of over-the-phone voices, including a 911 operator and a car shop mechanic, add vibrancy. Genuine uncertainty is maintained around Noah's fate, as the multi-coloured autumnal woods are brought to life by John Brawley's often soaring cinematography.

What Does Not Work As Well: The script engages in some none-too-subtle manipulation to dispatch Amy on her full emotional tour. The final act features bold but far-fetched interventions before settling for a safe option.

Conclusion: School tragedies are pointedly distilled to the singular human experience - individually unique, but unfortunately commonly shared.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.