Review: LET HIM GO

Potent western noir

When George sadly puts down one of Margaret’s beloved horses, she whispers tender comforts into the struggling animal’s ear. We don’t know Margaret’s exact words, but we understand.

“Let Him Go” is a potent bit of rural western noir. Starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as married couple George and Margaret Blackledge, the story is subtle and sensitive and violent and visceral. It will stick with you.

It’s 1963, George and Margaret live a quiet life on their Montana ranch with their son James (Ryan Bruce), his wife Lorna (Kayli Carter), and the young couple’s newborn son. The accidental death of James shatters their idyllic environment. Naturally, the loss of their only child is devastating, but raising their grandson helps heal the gaping wound.

Three years later, Lorna marries Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain), an outsider whose clan hails from North Dakota. After Margaret’s attachment to her grandson effectively pushed Lorna into Donnie’s arms, Margaret reluctantly embraces Lorna’s new man. But when Donnie and Lorna skip town without saying goodbye, Margaret is determined to pursue them.

Convincing George, a retired sheriff, to make the trip to North Dakota isn’t too hard. Margaret is a strong-willed woman who spent her days on the ranch breaking horses, and breaking through George’s resistance to her choices happened a long time ago.

From this point, “Let Him Go” becomes a period set road picture as the couple makes their way to a mysterious destination. Even without watching the film’s trailers, that promise flashes of violent action, writer/director Thomas Bezucha (see 2005’s “The Family Stone”) relies heavily on his two prominent stars to evoke an ominous tone.

Read the rest of Jonathan’s review online and in print in the Times-Herald: