Thanks to the performances of Storm Reid and David Oyelowo, Don’t Let Go will have you crying and your chest tight due to fear.
|Screenplay By||Jacob Estes|
|Genre(s)||Thriller, Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery|
|Good If You Like|
|Kenneth||Brian Tyree Henry|
|Chief Howard||Alfred Molina|
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Don’t Let Go Plot Summary/ Review
11-year-old Ashley has a really close relationship with her paternal uncle, Jack. Likely due to her father, Kenneth, being someone who was inconsistent when she was younger. But, he has gotten better, is on his medication and has distanced himself from the life he had before. Thus leading to the question of how and why Ashley, Kenneth, and Kenneth’s wife Susan end up dead. Much less, why is it billed a double murder and suicide? It doesn’t make sense, and it leaves Jack racking his brain.
That is until, almost two weeks after her death, Ashley calls, spry and lively, and seemingly not from the next world, trying to help her murder get solved, but from the past. Thus leading Jack to hope he can create a time paradox which will cause his family to survive, if not avoid, whoever massacred them.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Should we just consider it a miracle, or blessing from God, that Jack was able to talk to Ashley in the past? At least based off his wish during Ashley, Susan, and Kenneth’s funeral?
- What led to Ashley and her family’s original death, before Jack was involved? Considering what caused the deaths which followed?
The Emotional Attachment You Will Have
What makes this film is honestly Storm Reid. Not to downplay Oyelowo’s part, but it is the emotional attachment you gain, when it comes to Ashley, which drives how invested you are in the film. For it is with seeing this sweet, but realistic, child brutally murdered, more than once, that messes you all up in the head. So as much as Oyelowo is the lead, watching him try to save her makes him more so a middle man, like a character you barely have control over in a video game.
Which makes every move made something which will tighten your chest for considering how the film leans towards the idea it may not deliver a happy ending, you are forced to fear the worse. Making it so, as we come to what will decide Ashley’s fate, you might be brought to tears for it seems like, despite all Jake has done, her fate is sealed.
The Time Travel Element
While more could have been done with it, you have to admire how the conversations, across two weeks, were used as a plot device. It helped shake things up a bit and made it so Reid and Oyelowo were allowed to both show themselves as the carefree kid, and worried uncle. And, in a way, it pushed the idea their bond was so strong and loving it was truly beyond the limits of space and time. Thus allowing Jake to get the chance to save his niece.
On The Fence
The Build To The Reveal, And The Reveal Itself
To be fair, while you may fall in love with Ashley and Jake’s relationship, one could say it compensates for the investigation into who killed her and her parents. An investigation which really doesn’t push much of a whodunit angle, and leads to a reveal, or twist, which some may see coming. If only because the film doesn’t dive too deep into any of its characters.
For example, we don’t find out anything about Susan; Jake is pretty much defined as an uncle, a cop, and Kenneth’s brother, nothing beyond that; and even if we talk about Jake’s partner Bobby or Chief Howard, there is very little said about them beyond knowing they have kids. Making it so, it pushes you to realize that, unless this film is going to have someone random be the villain, it is likely someone you know.
Making the reveal of who it is, in retrospect, slightly kill a lot of the build to the films final scenes. Though I will say, considering the state of mind those involved with Ashley, and her family’s, death, that is what will make your chest tighten and shoulders tense. For if they were able to kill a child, who is to say Jake, with him digging his nose where it doesn’t belong, may die with the truth?
Don’t Let Go Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
Ultimately, Don’t Let Go, benefits from what Reid brings as an actress. She gives you a reason to care about Jake’s plight and the film hinges on you feeling something for her. Which, with the talent Reid has, it draws you in, gets you attached, and has you fearful that, with the film having 0 issues with showing you the corpse of an 11-year-old, brutally murdered, who is to say we may get a happy ending here?
Hence the positive rating, and recommendation. While the story is simply, with a little flavor thanks to the time travel gimmick, Reid’s chemistry with Oyelowo and the connection she coerces you to have with Ashley takes Don’t Let Go to the next level. Showing that she is truly one to watch and to expect to be a long term figure in Hollywood.
Don’t Let Go Ending Explained
Kenneth, to help pay bills, and keep things floating, ends up working with a group of corrupt cops who operate under the name “Georgie.” The origin of the name isn’t explained, but what is revealed is that Bobby is a member and with Ashley knowing a bit too much, especially in the timeline of Jack asking her to look for information, he feels the need to kill her and her family.
Now, as for how, in the original timeline, she ends up dead, the movie doesn’t dive into that. All we can gather is Kenneth messed up, didn’t run like Bobby said he should, and we can assume he was instructed to kill Kenneth and so that is how the original death happened. However, as for the later reasons, Jack technically may play a role in that. But, with Jack revealing how Ashley dies, the second time, she avoids there being a third time. For she forces Bobby, after he kills her parents, to chase her all the way to Jack’s house and while Jack in the past knows nothing of what Bobby did or was doing, he does see that shotgun, and his niece cowering, so he kills Bobby.
As for what comes after? We aren’t told.
Is A Sequel Possible?
Technically yes. While Ashley is aware of Bobby being corrupt, to a point, Jack in the past knows nothing. So, when it comes to Georgie, that organization is alive and well and could come after Ashley after Bobby is made to seem like a lone wolf. So Jack finding out who is a member of Georgie, while dodging them trying to kill him, never mind the niece he now has to raise, could be built into a sequel.
However, I can say right here and now, a sequel would be a terrible idea – even if it is doable.