This is one of those great movies which opens extremely violently. It then continues enigmatically. Every time you think it’s giving you the clue you need, it changes the mystery. Just like last time, it’s a movie about brothers. At least you are made to think that. I don’t want to give you any accidental spoilers.
Come to think of it, you could say it’s a Band of Brothers reunion. Starring Rick Gomez, Frank John Hughes, and Ron Livingston (All Easy Company) and emotionally validated by Vanessa Shaw. OD’ing high-end escort as a debut in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, then a bit more of a dramatic career since including 3:10 to Yuma, The Hills Have Eyes redux, Side Effects and Showtimes’s Ray Donavan, really create a rounded co-star. The emotion in this movie is right on the surface.
This lineup of actors certainly helps portray it so that it doesn’t just come off as cheesy melodrama.
After the violent opening we discover that the attacked man is a writer, and not sure if the attack we saw happened or was a dream. What is alluded to is “you’ve been through a lot.” and some other vague hints of
trauma. We simply assume that means the opening violence. One begins to wonder, given the severity of the attack, why our protagonist has no scars or lasting negative effects.
Henry decides, after a small yet garish cocktail party thrown by his editor, that he’s going to go to his cabin in the woods to write his next masterpiece.
A quick bathtub scene between Henry and Amy solidifies the emotional bond. It’s an important factor later. It seems simple and inconsequential. Remember it at the end.
The second act of this mystery begins. We go immediately from an urban setting into a lone desert highway. It just gives the film a completely different feel. We are as alone and unguarded as our writer. Henry wonders aloud what the heck he is going to write about. The viewer may again begin to question reality. Wouldn’t a writer at least have some idea about his upcoming novel, before he leaves to isolate himself in his art? We also begin to realize that Henry has a meticulous eye for details. We assume it’s because he’s a writer, and that’s a common trait. It becomes a bit more useful. We get a little bit more action when an aggressive large wheeled, monster-style truck attempts to run Henry off the road. It’s purposeful conflict, reminding us that the attack isn’t so far away, even if Henry appears to have been completely healed. When our next main character enters the frame, he is sitting calmly at the counter of the diner which can’t be called a greasy spoon, for fear of insulting greasy spoons. A series of unexplainable and extremely tense events follow. An exchange of witty accusations and purposeful and seemingly contrived explanations volley back-and-forth and this reviewers sense of calm, security and trust follows. Hints and allegations begin to fly around and the stranger at the counter turns out to be extremely familiar after all. The scene happens to take this turn extremely easily after our struggle. So as a viewer, i’m still very skeptical. This is a type of tense conflict that keeps you glued. One begins to try to find comfort by assuming that the stranger was the attacker after all. He even asked Henry if he looks familiar to him. The keyword is: familiar. From this point on it’s hard not to spoil the movie. Just pay close attention to the verbal exchange at the counter.
The third act begins as easily as the previous two. We’re in a very comfortable cabin, drinking very expensive scotch, and eating a dinner of very comforting macaroni and cheese. It’s a heartwarming scene. Almost too heartwarming to be believable. You don’t trust the calm and easiness. After what we’ve seen so far it’s just too facilitating. It doesn’t take long for that skepticism to be proven. In the final scenes and denouement of this extremely well acted and well-written drama, as many mysteries are introduced as are finally solved. We are left with a very warm feeling; we are left with calmness and ease of mind. Leave is a wonderful movie full of intrigue. There are scenes of extreme violence and of tear rendering and heart wrenching love.
Be sure to take note of the final credits. It will make what you just saw even more authentic and add a special value. There’s really not a whole lot about the second half of this movie that I can tell you without completely ruining it just please watch it all the way through, including the writing and directing credits.