Palm Springs Film Review: ‘Buck Run’

Variety | 1/9/2019 | Dennis Harvey
Click For Photo: https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/buck-run-james-le-gros.jpg?crop=273px,0px,1065px,600px&resize=700,393

If not for a cell phone that’s promptly taken away from our juvenile protagonist, you might think “Buck Run” takes place in the late ’70s or early ’80s. Evidently, it was that era which saw the last spasm of prosperity in the film’s rural Pennsylvania setting, as any home improvements seem to date back at least a couple decades. A thick haze of economic hopelessness and all the related woes it brings hangs over this gritty indie drama from director Nick Frangione (“Roxie”).

While the film is compelling in atmospheric and textural terms, it’s less successful as storytelling, as David Hauslein’s script proves excessively reluctant in parceling out much explanatory detail in this tale of a newly motherless boy’s strained reunion with his ne’er-do-well deer-hunter father. The result is a mixed bag that’s less than satisfying, albeit still distinctive enough to warrant a look by adventuresome festivals and niche distributors.

Film - Shaw - Templeton - Nolan - Lyons

When the film introduces 15-year-old Shaw Templeton (Nolan Lyons), he’s in a state of shock and denial: Despite mom’s apparent long illness (presumably cancer), the young man can’t process finding his mother (Amy Hargreaves) dead, so nearly two days pass before the authorities become aware of the situation.

Film Review: 'The Kid Who Would Be King'

Shaw - Care - Dad - William - James

This means Shaw is turned over to the care of his estranged dad, William (James Le Gros), who is understandably not thrilled, as he can barely take care of himself. Will tells the small-town police that he’s been sober for more than two years, but we quickly discern that’s a flat-out lie. His cabin in the woods is a cluttered mess. When he’s not sleeping off the prior night’s antics, he mostly hangs out with best (and only) bud John (Kevin J. O’Connor), who likewise ekes out a theadbare living hunting game. Whatever other bridges Will once had...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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