A young boy named Wesley (Danny Murphy) is hearing impaired. Wesley can communicate with others by reading lips or through the use of sign language. He doesn’t speak and generally keeps to himself. Wesley attends a local school and daily puts up with bullying from fellows students. One day while Wesley is walking home from school, he discovers a man (Aaron Paul) in the snow. The mysterious man is suffering from a gunshot wound, and Wesley realises the police want the stranger for a bank robbery which had occurred in Wesley’s town. Wesley decides to give the man shelter and food until he can recover. As you would expect, over time, the two develop a unique bond and friendship.
Unfortunately, this type of tale isn’t something new in the world of cinema. One minor element that sets this film apart is that Wesley, as a leading character, doesn’t speak. Therefore the film will require the surrounding cast to carry the movie when it comes to dialogue. Secondly our wanted man is played by Aaron Paul who is best known for his role in the hit TV series “Breaking Bad”.
As a plot, it is generally a predictable one from start to finish. While I felt the plot was predictable, there were elements to the plan I wished the film would have expanded on further to make the story more interesting. Still, sadly these details are skipped over, and the film stays on a fundamental and safe path.
Aaron Paul’s performance is generally positive, but unfortunately, I feel sorry for the actor as he will always be Jessie Pinkman in my eyes. Many moments are very similar to his previous work, especially when he’s being threatening to others. The bond that the two share at times are positive is possibly the main highlight of the entire film. The performance by Danny Murphy as Wesley was outstanding from a child performer.
The duration of this film is short, but it also feels slow and dragged out. There are no real action scenes nor any suspense throughout the film. This is simply a drama film.
Other well-known actors also appear in this film as Wesley’s parents (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Scoot McNairy). Still, ultimately they play weak characters who never really get a proper outcome in the film. Both of these actors are better than the roles they play here (particularly Mary Elizabeth Winstead- you’re better than this).
The film’s tone and style is gritty and dark, which is very suitable, considering the film’s themes. Visuals of the snow and the town itself (North Dakota) were always convincing and lively.
Overall, this is a film which unfortunately didn’t feel new to me, and its storyline was rather predictable from start to finish. Witnessing what feels like a repeat performance from actor Aaron Paul was dissatisfying even though the relationship that develops between him and the young boy was positive. Solid cast line up, but sadly it’s all missed opportunity.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden