Phillip Noyce’s “The Determined Hour” begins with Naomi Watts’ Amy taking a morning jog after nudging her teen son awake for varsity.
Whereas Amy is operating by means of an extended path, deep into the woods, she hears police vehicles roar by. Later, her cellphone alerts her that the highschool her son attends is on lockdown, as a consequence of a hostage state of affairs. As Amy scrambles previous the timber and frantically calls anybody who will reply their cellphone, she ponders whether or not the shooter is her son.
That is the tasteless, albeit excessive idea premise that this film actually runs with.
I like lots of Noyce’s films and was on board with this one initially, as the gorgeous cinematography and wealthy, overlapping imagery convey Amy’s blissful escape on foot. As soon as the frantic calls are available and the movie makes an attempt to meld a potboiler with the subject of college shootings and the dad and mom of killers, I needed to throw my shoe on the display screen (I didn’t, as a result of I noticed this at house).
The current “Mass” (2021) delved into this materials with directness however sensitivity and intelligence, whereas this jogged my memory of the wrong-headed Uma Thurman car, “The Life Earlier than His Eyes” (2007), one other tone-deaf tackle the subject with a film star within the lead.
I suppose Noyce has additionally seen “Locke” (2013) and “Telephone Sales space” (2003), that are additionally films led by a single performer on the cellphone for a lot of the operating time. A few of “The Determined Hour” even jogged my memory of that scene in “Velocity”(1994) the place Keanu Reeves is on the pay cellphone with Dennis Hopper.
“The Determined Hour” is generally is so much like “Mobile” (2004), the environment friendly however crappy B-movie the place a pre-MCU Chris Evans runs round like a madman whereas a kidnapped Kim Basinger pleads to maintain him on the road earlier than his cellphone dies. That film was junk, but it surely knew to by no means cease shifting and definitely didn’t try to deal with the painful horrors of college shootings.
Noyce creates nervousness however the entire thing looks like a contrivance. I by no means ignored how the film is in such dangerous style. If Noyce and Watts had admirable intentions, then advantageous, however this nonetheless looks like a miscalculated stunt and aren’t the worst films all the time those made with good intentions (see the wretched 2011 Tom Hanks/Sandra Bullock 9/11 household movie, “Extraordinarily Loud and Extremely Shut”)?
Watts’ run is allegedly 5 miles lengthy however turns into an odyssey, full with a reference to the Blair Witch. The best way the screenwriter retains her within the woods for therefore lengthy looks like a manipulation. The entire foreshadowing is clear, as that is a simple movie to get forward of.
Maybe this might have labored as a brief movie and located higher, smarter methods to mix actual life horrors with a popcorn premise. The John Cho-led “Looking out” (2018) succeeded at this.
The movie’s creator is Chris Sparling, who wrote the dreadful “Down a Darkish Corridor” (2018) and the thematically related, gimmicky, crass however superior “Buried” (2010) and “ATM” (2012). That is a kind of scripts that ought to have stayed within the drawer.
What we find yourself with is a well-crafted dangerous film. I’m prepared to let a film simply be a film and never pre-judge it based mostly on the way it does or doesn’t mirror actual life. If “The Determined Hour” was an awesome film, I wouldn’t have minded the way in which it dealt with the troublesome subject it portrays (in the identical method I actually favored Oliver Stone’s “World Commerce Middle” and the way it approached 9/11). Noyce’s movie isn’t simply unashamedly manipulative however annoying.
What’s the purpose to all of this? Flip your rattling cellphone off when you jog!
I despise this movie.