6 April 2015 | vchimpanzee
Exciting, occasionally funny
For his 17th birthday, Skylar gets to go hunting deer with his brother Nate. We can't see what they are shooting at, and they don't seem to be entirely sure either.
Dick Cavanaugh, mayor of the small town of Guerneville, California, is dead.
The boys do the right thing. As it turns out, their father Bloom is the police chief, so maybe Skylar won't get in too much trouble. It was, after all, an accident.
Lloyd is one of the town's cops and, although he is a Barney Fife type when it comes to enforcing the law, he seems to be on the boys' side.
The problem is that the Cavanaugh family seems to run the town. Every business seems to have the Cavanaugh name on it. Accident or not, Skylar will be tried as an adult. For one thing, there is motive. Deputies come to take him to Santa Rosa.
But they won't make it, if Nate has anything to say about it. This puts the boys in deeper trouble.
Survivalist Uncle Mike gets involved. He is still upset that Sarah is dead. Who is Sarah? We'll find out later but for now things are even worse for the boys.
Nate and Skylar are on the run, but for now things aren't too bad. Tony and Joel are among those hunting for them (yes, I do mean hunting in that sense of the word; these are people who love their guns and believe justice involves bullets rather than a jury). These two are morons and for the first time, we have comic relief.
But not everyone is so incompetent. Randy is in charge of the search and he is a no-nonsense, capable cop, who comes across like a drill sergeant. Fortunately for the boys, Eric and Ronnie are even bigger morons than Tony and Joel, and we really get to laugh. Finally, Guthrie is the biggest idiot of the bunch, and with the boys' father searching for them and hoping to help them out of their predicament, this turns out to be a positive development. For all of us.
A couple of other cast members deserve mention. Jamie is the girl Nate likes, and she may be able to help. And Roberta is nearly topless and very frightened.
So will the boys succeed in their efforts? Nate wants to go to Canada because he believes they will never see freedom if they stay around here. That's if they survive.
There is a lot of excitement here as the chase continues. Especially toward the end. The final scenes put me on the edge of my seat. Regardless of the outcome you are looking for, I think the ending can make you happy.
Moral dilemmas are a big part of this movie. The fact is that the boys only have a chance at a positive outcome during the first few minutes. After that, the only question is how many laws one is willing to break to rescue them. Morally right at this point becomes a relative concept.
This is not a family film. Numerous words were bleeped and sometimes I had trouble understanding what was going on in scenes where fewer words could be heard than were not heard. And ever since the Janet Jackson incident (or for whatever reason) reading lips is also out of the question.
I know Ted Levine best as a tough, capable detective in a suit who has to deal with a quirky but brilliant P.I., while here he is blue-collar in appearance and manner and quite convincing. But capable? As an actor he certainly is, but the character may not be any good at his job, and he is somewhat flawed as he makes the boys his priority. He even makes us laugh a couple of times.
Michael Bowen doesn't have a lot of lines as what appears to be a sheriff but he commands respect and you'd better listen to him.
Spencer Clark does a capable job leading his brother down a dark path, while Nick Eversman has the challenge of deciding to sacrifice himself for what is right.
Martin Starr is kind of a weak link in an otherwise talented cast. I don't think Lloyd reached his full potential. He was mostly just there.
Let's also give credit to radio host Cool Breeze (I think I got his name right, but didn't see him on IMDb). Every town needs a folksy DJ who knows the people and what is meaningful to them. For example, he says our thoughts should be with the Cavanaughs after their loss.
There is lots of beautiful scenery and plenty of great looking bridges. We also get to see a nice modern bridge which just doesn't have the character of the others.
And the guitar music is great. I consider rock music to be evil, but this isn't rock music. Not exactly. It isn't quite country either. Maybe folk. A good example is a song I heard at least once, and maybe twice. With the closing credits, I heard the words "birds of prey". "Birds of Prey" is in fact the name of a song in the credits, performed by Wyoming. It is quite appropriate for the setting and both the guitar and the vocalist sound great. Other music in the movie sounds similar.
It's a worthy effort.