Film Review by Kam Williams
After being bashed beyond recognition by her alcoholic husband (Fran Kranz) again, Molly (Jocelin Donahue) made a beeline to her regular port of refuge in a storm. So, by the time his hangover wore off the next day, he knew exactly he could find her.
Her mother (Joelle Carter) was so upset when Teddy showed up that she pointed a gun at his chest and ordered him to “Stay away from my daughter!” But the savage wife beater defiantly called her bluff by waiting for his spouse while arrogantly asserting, “Angela, you’re not going to shoot me.”
Emerging from the house with a black eye and bruises all over her body, Molly brushed past her mom before forgiving her sadistic abuser for the umpteenth time. Fed up with this predictable cycle of dysfunction, Angela prevails upon her son (Kenny Wormald) to defend his sister’s honor, like their late daddy would’ve done, if he were still around.
Although Gordon loves his sister, he’s too much of a milquetoast to rise to the occasion by taking the law into his own hands. And after taking a humiliating tongue lashing from his irate mom, he decides out of desperation to enlist help in exacting a measure of revenge.
So, he arranges a meeting in a diner with Howard Blake (Chris Mulkey), a tough guy for hire. The ex-con turns out to be not only a cold-blooded hit man but cheap enough to retain on a modest, grocery clerk’s salary. So, the next thing you know, Gordon finds himself stuck in a conspiracy to commit murder that he can’t back out of even when he starts to have second thoughts.
That is the intriguing point of departure of The Living, a serpentine psychological thriller written and directed by Jack Bryan (Struck). This character-driven drama chronicles the slow descent into depravity of a well-meaning hero who reluctantly takes to the wrong side of the law for the sake of a sister stuck in denial.
A grim, grudging-buddies splatterfest featuring a few surprising plot twists and all the fixin’s for a riveting cinematic experience.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity and violence
Running time: 91 minutes
Studio: Shooting Films
Distributor: Monterey Media
To see a trailer for The Living, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BEnVJM2NZQ
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