Don't Let Go (2019 film)
|Don't Let Go|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jacob Aaron Estes|
|Screenplay by||Jacob Aaron Estes|
|Music by||Ethan Gold|
|Box office||$5.3 million|
Don't Let Go is a 2019 American science fiction horror thriller film written and directed by Jacob Aaron Estes. The film stars David Oyelowo, Storm Reid, Byron Mann, Mykelti Williamson, and Shinelle Azoroh. Jason Blum serves as a producer through his Blumhouse Productions banner, alongside Bobby Cohen and Oyelowo.
The film premiered under the title Relive at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2019. It was released on August 30, 2019, by OTL Releasing, BH Tilt and Briarcliff Entertainment. It received mixed reviews from critics, with many praising Oyelowo and Reid's performances, but criticizing its inconsistent tone and writing.
Homicide detective Jack Radcliff (David Oyelowo) receives a call from his niece Ashley (Storm Reid). Her father (and Jack's brother) Garrett (Brian Tyree Henry) has forgotten to pick her up. Ashley and Jack eat at a diner, and Jack promises to talk to his brother, a former drug dealer on medication for bipolar disorder, about being responsible. The following night, Jack receives a short, garbled call from a frightened Ashley. He races to Ashley's home and finds Garrett, Ashley’s mother and Ashley all shot dead. The police rule the case a murder-suicide by Garret. Despite consolation from his partner Bobby, who has been assigned the case, Jack blames himself; he is convinced that his stern talk with Garret sparked his horrific actions.
Two weeks later, Jack begins receiving calls from Ashley's phone, even though the line has been disconnected. When he answers, Ashley speaks to him as though nothing is wrong. Jack soon realizes that he is somehow communicating through the phone with Ashley from several days before her murder. Ashley herself is oblivious to her fate and does not know she is speaking to Jack in the future. Jack does not tell Ashley the confusing truth, but hopes that with his guidance she can alter events to prevent the murder-suicide. From this point forward, the film cuts between Jack in the present and Ashley in the past.
As Jack in the present investigates leads Ashley uncovers in the past, he becomes convinced that Garrett was framed for the crime. Jack finds reference to a "Georgie;" his captain, Howard (Alfred Molina), tells Jack that Georgie is a possibly mythical drug kingpin who rumors have tied to numerous major drug deals for years. Jack is convinced that the mysterious Georgie is the real murderer.
While investigating, Jack is fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting. Dying, he calls Ashley, ordering her to call the police to arrest her father for drug possession, and telling her to call his partner Bobby if she thinks she is in danger. Jack hopes that these actions will prevent Ashley's murder; instead, only the date and specific details of the triple homicide change. Ashley altering the past also changes Jack's own past actions, meaning that he is not shot and is unharmed. When he realizes that Ashley's murder now occurred a day earlier, the day that Ashley is currently in, Jack tells Ashley the truth about their phone calls and her fate. He begs her to leave town to survive, and she agrees.
Jack meets with Howard and Bobby, who reveal that "Georgie" is not a person, but a group of crooked cops. Howard and Bobby have been helping internal affairs track down this conspiracy within the department. They take Jack to a discrete location to discuss the investigation. Bobby suddenly shoots Howard dead, revealing that he is a member of the Georgie conspiracy. He was tasked with eliminating Garrett after Garrett refused to assist them with a major drug deal. Bobby killed the family and framed Garrett.
Meanwhile, in the past, Ashley has called Bobby for a ride home, planning to have him protect her family. However, when they arrive, Bobby shoots Garrett and Ashley's mother dead. Ashley flees. In the present, Bobby, assuming that all Jack's evidence must come from an informant, demands to know who Jack's witness is. Jack responds by calling Ashley and holding up the phone. He urges Ashley to save herself, which will save him. Bobby prepares to shoot Jack. In the past, Ashley leads the pursuing Bobby to Jack's house. After briefly communicating with his future self in silence, the past version of Jack comes out and sees his blood-covered partner preparing to shoot Ashley. Jack shoots Bobby, erasing the future where Bobby holds Jack at gunpoint. Jack comforts a tearful Ashley.
- David Oyelowo as Detective Jack Radcliff, Ashley's uncle and Garret's younger brother
- Storm Reid as Ashley Radcliff, Garret's daughter and Jack's niece
- Byron Mann as Sergeant Roger Martin
- Mykelti Williamson as Bobby Owens
- Alfred Molina as Howard Keleshian, Jack and Bobby's boss
- Brian Tyree Henry as Garret Radcliff, Ashley's father, Susan’s husband and Jack's brother
- Shinelle Azoroh as Susan Radcliff, Ashley’s mother and Garret’s wife
On April 17, 2017, it was announced that David Oyelowo was starring and executive producing the film with Jacob Aaron Estes writing and directing. On July 18, 2017, it was announced that Storm Reid is co-starring with Oyelowo. On July 25, 2017, it was announced that Brian Tyree Henry, Alfred Molina and Mykelti Williamson are also starring in the film.
Don't Let Go was released on August 30, 2019.
The film made $2.4 million from 922 theaters in its opening weekend, finishing in 14th.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 42% based on 89 reviews, with an average rating of 5.05/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "While admirably intelligent and well-cast, Don't Let Go suffers from a formulaic approach compounded by its uneven writing and an awkward tonal balance." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by PostTrak gave the film an average 3 out of 5 stars, with 46% saying they would definitely recommend it to a friend.
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