Never Let Go, 2017.
Directed by Howard J. Ford.
Starring Angela Dixon, Lisa Eichhorn, Velibor Topic, Nigel Whitmey, and Rami Nasr.
Award-winning actress Angela Dixon stars in this international action-thriller about a single mother desperately searching for her missing child in a beautiful, but unfamiliar land, following an apparent abduction. Trusting no one, she takes the law into her own hands, weaving her way through the murky backstreets and barren landscapes, now implicated in the murder of a seemingly innocent man, her connections back in the US begin to reveal that there is much more at stake than first meets the eye.
Since Liam Neeson first uttered those immortal lines about his “particular set of skills,” there have been a slew of similarly themed films. In Hollywood, a number of male stars of a certain age have branched into the action genre (or returned) to play the role of the underestimated former [insert job title requiring “particular set of skills”]. We’ve not seen too many roles going to leading female actresses (aside from the recent Halle Berry starrer and imaginatively titled, Kidnap).
Never Let Go, is a UK indie production made on Hollywood archetype and the plot mirrors that of Kidnap. Though to clarify, Never Let Go was made and released before Kidnap appeared, so this wasn’t some kind of Asylum type carbon copy. As it happens, Never Let Go garnered solid reviews, particularly among action specialist sites. It’s now due to hit state-side having had its UK release earlier in the year (briefly theatrical followed by DVD/VOD).
Angela Dixon stars as Lisa Brennan, a single mother of a young baby. She’s haunted by the past, missing her former job as a government agent (with particular set of…yeah, you get the picture) and suffering from post natal depression too. She heads out on vacation to Morocco, a place her late father (Lisa’s having a rough time to say the least) had an affinity for, hoping for a chance to bond with her baby (who she has had with a married congressman running for office). At this point we’ve already established that Lisa is basically Unlucky Alf from The Fast Show, so it’s not long before the shit really hits the fan. Her baby is kidnapped. From then on the film’s pace never lets up as she tears through Marrakech and its outskirts, tracking the kidnappers.
Never Let Go may not have originality in its corner but it sensibly doesn’t make light of real life issues, nor turn the film into too much of an exploitation film. As an example, a year or so back Dolph Lundgren with the best intentions wanted to bring light to human trafficking, using his vehicle, Skin Trade as an evocation piece. Trouble was, the film was every inch the 80’s genre, muscle-bound hero flick. I enjoyed it as it goes, but it was trashy, lacking a required intelligence and sensitivity to leave audiences lingering on the shittiness of the reality the film was based upon. Never Let Go won’t by any means be a flag bearing piece of important, evocative cinema, but it treats the subjects with more grace than many genre films with similar themes (and indeed Taken). It’s rare to see PND shown in film too, and whilst they don’t stop to cover it too much, the acknowledgement is there, which is commendable.
Dixon is excellent. She’s totally invested in the role and portrays the frantic horror of the situation well, but the inner strength that overtakes her, due to the training (yep…the skills) is also effectively played. Emotionally, physically and dramatically she digs deep and she holds the film. She’s an explosion of kinetic energy. Non-stop. In addition writer/director Howard J. Ford offers a visceral, pulsating style to the film without becoming too frantic. Visually it owes a pint or three to the Bourne series.
Fast paced, relentless and well made (beautifully shot to overcome the low-budget), Never Let Go will serve action fans well and tug at the hypothetical horror any parent may imagine at some juncture.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★