David Oyelowo stars as Jack Radcliffe, a hard-working detective with the LAPD. He’s extremely committed to his job but makes time for his teenage niece Ashley (Storm Reid), who often looks to him as a father figure. Her own father, played by Brian Tyree Henry, is a recovering addict struggling to stay healthy. When Ashley and her parents are brutally murdered, Jack is left reeling from the tragic loss. His grief is compounded when a few days after the funeral he receives a phone call from his niece. She is somehow living several days in the past before her death. The two of them work together across time to prevent the murders from happening.
Don’t Let Go is suspenseful, enthralling, and mildly puzzling. It has a great cast and an interesting story; however, like most movies involving time bending, it suffers from an under-developed script. Even still, the talented cast and exciting premise make for an entertaining film that will have you on the edge of your seat.
When the film opens, Ashley’s father has forgotten to pick her up after a late-night movie and she calls her uncle for a ride home. This small gesture is the first indication of their tight bond and it’s gradually revealed that Jack has been picking up his brother’s slack for a long time. Oyelowo and Reid work great together onscreen. Their characters share an easy back-and-forth with one another that mirrors the traditional father/daughter dynamic. They aren’t just connected by familial ties, but this strange mystery that allows only them to communicate from different timelines. It’s not lost on the viewer that Ashley is the one who calls Jack from the future. Their relationship is the key. Each gives a fantastic performance and it’s exciting to see Oyelowo in particular play a different kind of character. Reid only gets better with age and I’m looking forward to seeing her blossom even more.
Jack’s determination to find the “who” and “why” behind the grisly crime leads him to start his own side investigation, which unsurprisingly clashes with the official one headed up by his friend and partner Bobby (Mykelti Williamson). Alfred Molina also appears in a smaller role as the police Captain. Both Williamson and Molina are gifted actors who have played much more interesting characters in other projects. Having such a small supporting cast narrows down the list of suspects and I won’t say it hurts the overall film, it just makes it a little obvious who the murderer is.
However, the protagonists don’t readily identify the threats, which adds a little dramatic irony since the audience is sometimes one step ahead (or is it one step behind because of the whole past/future situation?). Which brings me to the only thing that I disliked. It’s hard to follow a film that stops making sense halfway through. Things aren’t clearly explained and it is a little tricky trying to keep up with why certain things are happening.
At any rate, I appreciated that the ending brought some sense of closure. There is still a feeling that the story is not fully realized or doesn’t quite live up to its full potential. I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone, so I’ll just say that it’s beneficial to see the action through to the end.
Don’t Let Go is currently showing in theaters. If you’re interested in mysteries or crime thrillers, you should check it out!
I heard that Don’t Let Go is similar to Frequency (2000), which I haven’t seen. I do remember the short-lived T.V. adaptation of the same name that aired on The CW in 2016. It did briefly remind me of an indie from last year called Searching. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Have any thoughts on any of the above? Leave a comment down below letting me know allllll about it!