Review: Buck Run (2019 San Diego Film Festival)

Title: Buck Run
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Nick Frangione
Starring: James Le Gros, Kevin J. O’Connor, Amy Hargreaves,
Runtime: 1 Hour 20 minutes

What It Is: After 15 year Shaw Templeton’s mother passes away, he’s left in the care of his dysfunctional, alcoholic father, who leaves him to deal with his grief on his own.

What We Think: The movie is cinematically appealing. The dialogue is believable and in line with the theme of the film. Shaw Templeton (an amazing Nolan Lyons) grieves the loss of his mother seemingly as if gasping for air. His father William (James Le Gros) seems partially dead inside himself as he sloshes about the movie neither empathetic or sympathetic to his son’s existence.

The town itself seems consumed with people incapable of helping Shaw, though not for lack of trying in their own way. From his father’s best friend John (Kevin J. O’Connor) to his own friend’s patriarch Angus (Angus Macfayden), there seems to be no shortage of opinions based on masculinity. Ultimately Shaw is left to his own breakdown, one which seems to falter a bit before concluding the film in a way that left one questioning if Shaw would ever get a break.

Our Grade: B, The celluloid love story with the small town makes it almost its own character in the film, replacing dialogue with locations one can assume to understand its purpose simply based on the dilapidation. There is no climax to the film, just as one would assume there is no climax nor happy ending to the death of a loved one, but it still feels like it needed an ending. The rolling of the credits seemed almost as if one had blinked and missed something, but luckily I was privy to Director Nick Frangione’s Q & A at the San Diego International Film Festival. His shared thoughts, advising that the story was semi-autobiographical, that the pace was meant to be believable, and the ending was purposeful to demonstrate acceptance, made the conclusion much deeper than I initially understood. The film is purposely slow pace in its efforts to truly have you understand Shaw’s pain.

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