Monday, June 17, 2019

Brett Bentman's 90 Feet from Home

Cody takes a look at the drama 90 Feet from Home.

This is a great time for professional wrestlers making the transition to acting in films. Just off the top of my head, we have Dwayne Johnson bringing a lot of charisma and fun to the screen in his movies, Dave Bautista being a badass with range, and John Cena being hilarious in comedies. Wrestlers had some good roles in the past, like Jesse Ventura in Predator, Roddy Piper in They Live, and Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride, but I don't think so many wrestlers have been doing so well in film at once before. Now there's another success story to add to the mix - Shawn Michaels in writer/director Brett Bentman's 90 Feet from Home.

Far from being the hero or the charismatic funny guy in this film, Michaels plays an abusive scumbag named James Devine. The first 25 minutes or so centers on Devine making life a nightmare for his teenage stepson Scott (Chase Pollock), beating and berating him at every turn, trying to sabotage his chances of becoming a professional baseball player. He even walks into Scott's room one night and busts his arm with a baseball bat. Devine is loathsome, and Michaels is perfect in the role.

That set-up could have led into a hopeful story of Scott overcoming his home life and leaving to pursue his dreams. But Scott is too damaged for that. The story jumps ahead fifteen years and follows Scott, now played by Adam Hampton, as he returns to town after having to leave his baseball career behind... and as soon as he crosses paths with Devine again, he starts thinking of revenge.

Michaels continues to impress when Scott catches up with Devine to find that he is a sorrowful old man seeking forgiveness in religion. Scott isn't won over by his new demeanor, and it's tough for the viewer to forget how Devine used to be as well.

We know things are going to get very dark in this story, the first scene gives that away, but I was surprised by just how dark it got. It went places I wasn't expecting it to, and pushed the characters further than I thought it would. This is not a fun movie to watch, in fact it's kind of painful, there is so much rage and sadness running through every scene.

Speaking of actors being impressive, Hampton proves to be a great leading man in Scott, who grows up to be quite formidable himself. Hampton could be an ass-kicking action hero alongside any of the wrestlers mentioned above. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when he has an encounter with the abusive stepfather of a young baseball fan, and the way he acts in that scene he could scare the hell out of anyone. The presence of that young baseball fan could have been another chance for Scott to improve his life, but again, he's too busy hating James Devine.

Thom Hallum is good in the supporting role of Scott's police officer brother Tommy, who wasn't beat by Devine back in the day like Scott was, and Eric Roberts and Dean Cain have small roles. The marketing of the film will probably put a lot of focus on Roberts and Cain being in the cast, but they only show up for a couple scenes a piece.

90 Feet from Home is a good, emotionally involving drama with an interesting story and some great acting. It runs a little long at 126 minutes, it probably could have been trimmed down a bit, but it works as is. This isn't a movie I'll return to often, it's too troubling for that, but it's worth watching.

The film is set to have its world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on June 20th.

No comments:

Post a Comment