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  • riid18 September 2005
    I saw this film at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival.

    Runaway follows two brothers, Michael (played by Aaron Stanford from Tadpole and X2) and his younger brother Dylan (Zach Savage) who have moved to a small town. Michael has taken a job in a roadside gas station, while Dylan spends his time playing alone in their motel room. In flashbacks and letters to his psychotherapist, it soon becomes apparent that Michael has taken Dylan to escape from their parents, played by Melissa Leo and Michael Gaston, for reasons that are soon revealed. While Michael is trying to lay low, his growing attraction to his co-worker Carly (Robin Tunney) and his own ever-present demons seem to be jeopardizing his attempt to start a new life for him and his brother and leading the film to an explosive conclusion.

    Runaway is a surprisingly good film, that features great performances from Stanford and Tunney. They and the script from screenwriter Bill True help to elevate what could have been a conventional film into something more substantial and emotional. The film does not yet have distribution, but hopefully someone will pick it up so that a wider audience can enjoy and appreciate it.

    Director Tim McCann, screenwriter Bill True, and producer David Viola were in attendance at the screening and did a Q&A after the film: - The film was made a year ago in Catskill, NY, and took about six months to complete.

    • The script ran around about 95 pages, which is relatively short. They workshopped the script with the actors, and developed the material as they went along. They ended up cutting about 15 minutes or so to arrive at the final cut.

    • The story originally came from a short story that screenwriter Bill True wrote in 1998, - They saw about 35 boys for the role of Dylan during casting. Zach Savage had a photographic memory of the script. Tim McCann's direction for him was basically "say this line, wait five seconds, say the next line." But as an audience member commented, the performance that came out seemed very natural.

    • On casting: McCann knew Melissa Leo from directing an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Terry Kinney (who plays Michael's psychotherapist in the film) came on board at Robin Tunney's suggestion. McCann and Tunney are friends. Michael Gaston was the best out of the 5 or 6 actors who they looked at for the father.

    • Producer David Viola suggested Aaron Stanford just after Tim McCann came on board as director. McCann thought he was a question mark after seeing Tadpole, but after sitting down with him, knew that he was right for the role.

    • The characters of Michael and Dylan were originally younger, but they shifted the ages after casting the actors.

    • A marquee the characters pass in the film actually features one of McCann's earlier films.

    • This is the first produced screenplay of Bill True. Just last Monday (September 12, 2005) he turned in the draft of his next script, The Angel on the Horse, which they hope to start shooting in early 2006.
  • Great movie! The casting in this movie was so perfect I really can't imagine anyone else playing those roles. And there was something about some of the filming techniques (or effects might be a better word) which made it very unique. The music was perfect, the writing was awesome, the actors -- really really great acting -- and the story blew me away. Runaway is one of the best movies I've ever seen.

    Even this morning, I was still processing the movie as I drove home from Toronto. It's one of those movies that I wish I had on DVD so that I could watch it a couple more times. Also, it would be helpful to watch it with writer or director commentary throughout. I hope it becomes available in the future for individual purchase and that they have those features on the DVD.

    If you see it at a festival, please DO try to stay for Q&A with the makers of this film - that's a great bonus!
  • Michael Adler (Aaron Stanford) is struggling to cope under the supervision of Dr. Maxim (Terry Kinney). He runs away with his younger brother Dylan from his parents (Melissa Leo, Michael Gaston). He works at a convenience store with foul-mouthed Carly (Robin Tunney) and owner Mo (Peter Gerety).

    It's a low budget indie. Stanford does a quiet compelling character although I would have wanted him to act out more. I want him to hint at the ultimate twist. The movie in general needs a few more visceral clues. It needs to amp up the tension so that the final twist fits better. It could have dug into his personal strive and given him a license to act out. Carly is a fun character. She saves this from being too low energy. Her relationship with Michael is great. She has one amazing scene. There is just a need for more foreboding in the tone.
  • xletxmexgox9 March 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    Wow. Being a fan of Aaron Stanford, I'd spent almost two years looking for this movie before it came out on Netflix. Firstly, let me say the only reason I didn't give this movie a ten out of ten was the ages of the boys. I think Aaron Stanford could have pulled off seventeen or eighteen (since he did it in the X-men movies), rather than have him at twenty-one. That was a little unbelievable. Being a pedophile, his father would have moved on long before he turned twenty-one. But other than that, this movie grabs you from the start. The abuse scenes are done in a very tactful manner, unlike some movies I've seen where they try to make a porno out of molestation or rape. We see just enough to let us know what's going on, and that's it. And the ending was amazing. I pride myself on being able to correctly guess the ending of a movie nine times out of ten. This ending was nowhere close to what I expected. Over all, it's not a tear-jerker per say. And it's not a happy movie. There's no 'happy ending'. It's a serious, sad look at the life of a young man whose life has been ruined by years of abuse. Other than the age thing, it's a gritty, realistic movie that just tugs at your heart. The acting was amazing. Again, I was an Aaron Stanford fan for a while before this, but after watching this... Just wow. He pulled it with flying colors. Zach Savage and Peter Gerety were also pretty good. Robin Tunney wasn't bad, just... some of her lines seemed too rushed. Most of it was very good, but a few lines (the one where she reveals her scars being an example) she just seemed to plough through them. But still... If you like realistic looks into the aftermath of abuse, this is an excellent film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***May contain spoilers***

    I came to this relatively unknown film as a new Aaron Stanford fan (thank 12 monkeys). Echoing some of the good points raised by fellow peer reviews, the acting and cinematography was sensitive in a low key way, and largely free from sensationalism and gratuitous voyeurism; given the subject.

    Much credit should also go to the people who selected the music for the film. I feel that the soundtrack really built the right mood and atmosphere, and lent the right level of ennui and beauty to the film.

    I do have a slight bone to pick on the narrative, namely that 'a person with a damaged past becomes a danger to others and themselves, in spite of efforts and appearances'. Mental and emotional distress, no matter how traumatic, does not necessarily create monsters. It's important to remember that many people will recover from trauma to go on to be successful/passable people socially, emotionally, etc.

    I supported the work of some serious psychotherapists working with some fairly distressed and abused young people for a year and heard many stories. But these did not happen to include cases of dissociative disorder as portrayed in this film (and revealed at the end) - where someone can block out so completely their reality and replace it with a version which omits what they have done so convincingly and consistently, whilst being such a charming, pleasant and sensitive soul in their delusional state. Usually damage reveals itself with some levels of behavioural problems, which Aaron Stanford's character seemed to lack any ones of concern.

    It might be the case that this could happen, but it is so important that people know it would be the rarest of cases. It would be really sad to meet someone so likable but so irredeemable at the same time in real life. It is important that those who have experienced past abuse don't feel that others would suspect they have been made dangerous by their experience.

    Still, strong and believable acting performances by Aaron Stanford, Robin Tunney, and Zach Savage.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival with the director and producer present. I unfortunately didn't have time to stay for the Q&A.

    This is a story about a protective elder brother and his younger brother who are runaways in a small non-descript town.

    But just what are they running away from? Well -- we fairly quickly have a pretty good idea what that something might be though with a series of spread out flashbacks depicting a somewhat troubling home life. But then I felt I was waiting for the movie to get rolling, when instead it took it's time. Perhaps a bit too much time for my pacing.

    Regardless, the film does a good job at creating suspense amongst our troubled characters. In particular, the role of the elder brother's co-worker, played by Prisonbreak's Robin Tunney was excellent. She's right on as the carefree yet sympathetic shoulder to lean on.

    Overall, this was a good movie to watch, with a good screenplay and good acting.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Boy! This was a gripping and very well acted and written film about a very difficult subject, namely the effect of child molestation on its victims. For what appears to be an extremely low budget film, I was as intensely involved as I have been in any film in a long time. So why did I only give this film a 7? Because of the surprising ending. I realize sometimes a shocking ending can make an otherwise mediocre film worth while, like in the 1970's little seen shocker "The Baby", but in this film, after so much pain and difficulty, I was hoping for an upbeat or at least hopeful ending. It left me so let down that, despite its cleverness, I felt deflated and even depressed. I can't imagine this film finding much audience beyond the festival circuit, no matter how much it deserves to be admired. I don't have to have a Hollywood ending, but a little sliver of something hopeful would have helped.