Diane Lane and Kevin Costner play concerned grandparents in Thomas Bezucha’s adaptation of a novel by Larry Watson.
A heartfelt, handsomely made but unconvincing tonal mash-up, Thomas Bezucha’s Let Him Go begins as a family drama embodying the no-nonsense smarts of its early-’60s heartland setting before veering into wild Gothic menace and ill-advised vigilantism. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner, perfectly cast as the parents of a son whose death leaves a vulnerable wife and infant behind, make the picture’s first half completely involving, encouraging our confidence that the quandary being sketched out will have a sensible if difficult resolution. That’s not the case, and an increasingly rare opportunity to see A-listers tell a grown-up, unsensationalized story fades as quickly as the red stripe on the horizon at dawn.
The actors, whose earlier pairing as Ma and Pa Kent was one of the rare high points of Zack Snyder’s DC films, play a variation on that archetype here: George and Margaret Blackledge live on a Montana ranch, where he’s a retired lawman and she breaks horses — or did, until the couple’s grown son was thrown by one and died instantly.
About three years later, the Blackledges watch as their son’s widow Lorna (Kayli Carter) marries Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain) in a Town Hall ceremony whose chilliness seems apt. They love their grandson Jimmy, but seem never to have truly bonded with Lorna, and have no cause for faith in the man who’ll now be caring for her. We’re not very surprised (though Michael Giacchino’s score is) when Margaret accidentally witnesses Donnie hitting both Lorna and the child on the street one day. Before she can decide how to address the situation, though, the newlyweds have moved out of town with no forwarding address.