One town. One life. One wrong turn.
Angels Crest is a film based on the book “Angels Crest,” written by Leslie Schwartz. 3 year-old Nate (Ameko Eks Mass Carroll) disappeared one cold and wintery afternoon from his father Ethan’s (Thomas Dekker) truck. Ethan was careful to make sure Nate was securely fastened in his car seat and that the air in the car was still warm. He was sure the window was up, and the door was locked. He only about 100 ft away from the truck. But still somehow, Nate got out. It was the worse mistake Ethan ever made in his life.
In a panic, Ethan furiously searches for Nate. It was getting dark and the search crews were packing up and heading home at the time Ethan continued to look for his son. He finds him. Frozen to death.
In the small working-class town of Angels Crest, I thought for a moment there that everyone would stand behind Ethan and help him to pull through this tragedy. Instead, Nate’s death did the exact opposite–it divided the town.
Cindy. Neglectful. Alcoholic.
When Nate is reported missing, Cindy (Lynn Collins) thought it was a good excuse to use to miss work. She’s an alcoholic, neglectful mother who seemed to blame everyone but herself for Nate’s death. It didn’t matter at all to her that Nate was gone–she’d kick the macaroni art Nate made for her under the table and the gift her mother sent for him still wrapped in the closet on the floor. Nate’s death did serve a purpose–it gave her an excuse to drink in greater excess.
When Jack, (Jeremy Piven) the town’s district attorney, brings criminal charges against Ethan for the death of his son. Jack was relentless in trying to get him convicted, however there wasn’t enough evidence. There was something more going on behind the scenes with Piven’s character we’re alluded to–one reporter asked if he believed that he was the appropriate person to handle the case beyond that; nothing was ever specified.
The film had an awkward moment; Ethan was painting the rocks with red paint. Why was he doing this? I don’t know. But it may have had something to do with marking the spot Nathan died. He was rambling on about his misguided relationship with his father. Vague and random dialogue.
In these times of sorrow.
There is no denying the prevailing sadness in this film. What is also undeniable are the character portrayals. Dekker demonstrated flawlessly what it was like to lose a beloved child and Sorvino, Collins, and McGovern all gave brilliant performances. The entire film was filled with secondary story-lines and a scramble of events sandwiched in sadness.
The only real tragedy in the entire film is that it lacked specificity. There just was just not enough dialogue to “connect” each character and the emotional heaviness as a whole. It seemed that everyone had an untold secret; an elephant in the room that prevented the primary issue–little Nate’s death–on the front page. I felt as if I kept coming in on the end of a conversation. Everyone is connected and yet, I still got the feeling that everyone gets “too quiet” when Ethan walked into the room.
Regardless of the beautiful landscapes of snowy mountains and frozen lakes, and beast of nature. The film took place mostly in crammed places such as the diner, in bedrooms, or Ethan’s truck. Constricting – not using enough of the surrounding scenery, just as it were with the characters other than Ethan in the film–almost completely under used.
Overall, a truly pleasant film. There were those intimate moments, where empathy prevailed. I may have teared a time or two. In the end, there was a just lot going on and not enough to connect the specific relationships between these people.
A moment of thoughtlessness that resulted in tragedy.
Angels Crest features a host of DVD extras including commentary with director Caby Dellal, BAFTA® award-winning director on the film and book adaptation. Cast interviews. An alternate opening scene: Ethan and Nate in a preschool setting depicting the closeness of their relationship; an alternated ending which I will not disclose but the one chosen for the film is the more preferable ending. Features also include outtakes with ‘Jane and Son,’ scenes with the townspeople in the local diner. HDNet bonus footage and the films theatrical trailer.
Source: Magnolia Home Entertainment