Brett Bentman, Scott Davis
I just have one sentence to sum things up here. Damn I liked this flick. To be completely honest? I kind of figured I would, just not to this extent. This is a film that although I've watched as a reviewer, I would be more than happy to buy when the time comes. And I will. "90 Feet From Home" by design, and in my particular case by chance as well, hit all the right notes with me personally - to almost guarantee I would love it. However, I strongly suspect that personal experiences aside, this movie will do the trick for almost anyone. It's a tense real world drama... but more on that later.
It all goes a little something like this. Scott Conway (Adam Hampton) has a dream - and that dream is baseball. He lives for the game and has both the raw talent, and the drive to make his dreams a reality. What he doesn't have going for him is a good home life. Sure. The "Leave It To Beaver" family is essentially a dream put to film. We all know that and we all have our little family issues. But Scott's family is another beast altogether. A beast by the name of James Devine (Shawn Michaels) or as Scott calls him... Pops.
Completing this family dynamic is brother Tommy (Thom Hallum) and their terrified mother Emily, played by Heather Williams. Did I mention James was a ridiculously abusive alcoholic? The kind of father figure we're more used to seeing in a horror flick? His abuse is dished out family wide but a special attention is paid to Scott - who is essentially a living punching bag. Through it all however, both Scott and Tommy manage to escape this horrendous home life. The question is at what price?
Fast forward to present day. It's here we find Tommy has become a successful cop with a great family - and a great future. Scott however, is not doing so well. On one hand he accomplished his dream and played ball in the big league. But not long enough. Not nearly. Now, with his only real dream taken, he returns home and confronts his now sober father.
Keeping things spoiler free prevents me from discussing any more plot details - but I can say this. This isn't a happy reunion. "90 Feet From Home" is not one of those films, that ends with everyone hugging and giggling. Brett Bentman's film is more akin to that gritty picture of life we all try to hide. It's about pain and suffering. It's about mistakes and prices to be paid. No reader. This is not an example of things getting darkest before the dawn. This is the more realistic story of life, death and choices.
This is a tense film, as I stated above. Many people talk about the slow burn, or of nail biting final acts and big reveals. I often read about expertly crafted movies that ebb and flow, while slowly ramping up the overall feel of the film. None of that applies here. Well... not really. In this film, the tension starts almost right away. It continues straight through until the end of the third act when finally, you get a chance to breathe a little. The atmosphere of this flick simply doesn't let up. I can honestly say I sat completely upright for most of the film. More to the point? I didn't even realize it until finally, at the very end, the tension in my body released leaving only one important question...
... how the hell did they do that? I know it was by design. I know having a large group of experts helped - and I could continue to speculate and point out individual elements but seriously? Those same individual things, by themselves, didn't do it. It was the combination of everything. The fact everything just came together the way they were supposed to come together. Fitting like a new puzzle straight from the box. I could babble about the great camera work, that complimented the story rather than overtook it. I could mention how much I loved Brett Bentman and Scott Davis's script, or that the cast did a top notch job. But in this case? I think it's the combination that worked for me. It all just fit.
When I started this write up, I wasn't going to mention individual actors or their roles. I'm still not. However, when considering the names attached to this movie, I already had some high expectations. Or perhaps high hopes would be more truthful. Bottom line? This is a powerfully acted movie that will probably raise a few eyebrows. You think you know what to expect? Think again. I do of course, mean that in the best possible way. Bottom line? You know you're not in for a trip down cardboard lane - but I can almost guarantee you're in for a shock. Everyone took this film seriously and it shows. The excellent performances are one of those combinations of factors, that made this such a great movie.
I have no question that due to my personal life experiences, this film hit me just the right way. Anyone who has ever known an abusive alcoholic will relate in some way. Beyond that? This film has it's roots in family and what we're expected to do. How we react and interact. How we scar and finally, how we cope. The bad guy in this film isn't the devil. James Devine is just another human being who has lost his way somewhere - lashing out. Can people like that be forgiven? Should they be? "90 Feet From Home" was a gritty film that was stupidly entertaining. Hellofajob cast and crew. Indeed.