You Can’t Run Forever : Movie Review

Posted by Eddie Pasa on May 18, 2024 in / No Comments

 

Rated R by the MPA for violent content including suicide, language, drug use, and brief sexual content. Running time: 103 minutes. Released by Lionsgate.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Lionsgate, You Can't Run ForeverYou Can’t Run Forever is an exercise in frustration cinema. It’s one of those movies that makes you scream obvious solutions at the screen that the movie itself presents and refuses to use in order to pad out the running time. The script, co-written by Carolyn Carpenter and director Michelle Schumacher, takes a thin premise – an apparent psychopath on a killing spree chases a young witness through a forest – and stretches it beyond logic.

While Schumacher gets decent performances out of her cast, it’s not enough to overcome the deficits wrought by the script. J. K. Simmons goes all-in as Wade, a man pushed over the edge into deranged nihilism; a phrase he says repeatedly – “It doesn’t matter” – plays into every action he takes, whether it’s shooting a bullying dog handler (the dog is fine), sidling up to potential victim Eddie (Allen Leech) at the next urinal, sitting with propped up victims, or asking someone to shoot him. We start the film with him committing murder in broad daylight in front of many witnesses, inexplicably leaving some alive. Well… it doesn’t matter, right?

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Lionsgate, You Can't Run ForeverRunning afoul of him is young Miranda (Isabelle Anaya), suffering trauma from losing her father to suicide a year earlier. Her mother, Jenny (Fernanda Urrejola), has remarried and moved with Eddie to a house, but Miranda’s still suffering panic attacks from the event. Soon, Miranda finds herself on the run through a forest, attempting to contact her mother via cell phone while Wade toys with her.

The thing is, Jenny can see her on a tracking app, which both Miranda and Eddie’s phones have, the latter of which Wade has taken. So, what does she do? She doesn’t report the locations to the sheriff’s station – the greenhorn ineptitude of whom is explained and executed rather unsatisfactorily – and, for some reason, maintains contact with Wade so she can plead for Miranda’s life.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Lionsgate, You Can't Run ForeverRIGHT? If she had given the tracking app information to the police, the movie would’ve been over much quicker or had some different paths it could have gone down. Instead, Schumacher draws things out to involve more victims, one of whom very abruptly dresses Miranda down for taking anxiety pills. There’s always something needing to be interesting happening in Carpenter and Schumacher’s script, but the thing is, there doesn’t need to be.

Had the structure of the film been point A to B to C, we would’ve had something pretty neat here. A chase through the forest with emotional reckonings and resolutions would’ve been enough. But we’re sidetracked with interjections that stop the film suddenly, like an incompetent sheriff’s department, a throwaway use of technology, and the revelation of Wade’s motives and actions. Nothing happening in this film feels organic or natural; it feels like we’re having things thrown at us piece by piece when the script feels like throwing things at us.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Lionsgate, You Can't Run ForeverIt’s like someone pointing a finger at us and shaking it in our faces, trying to teach us a lesson about something. What that lesson is, I don’t know, but You Can’t Run Forever doesn’t seem to know, either. Instead, we get a movie that keeps going on and on, bludgeoning us over the head with event after event and trying to make them fit. Regrettably, they don’t, and what could’ve been a decent chase-style B-movie gets turned into something that might’ve fit well on some cable network channel. There’s too much going on with too little power behind it – definitely not enough to make any of it stick.

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Eddie Pasa

Eddie is a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Since starting in 2010 at The Rogers Revue, Eddie has written for Reel Film News (now defunct), co-founded DC Filmdom, and writes occasionally for Gunaxin. When not reviewing movies, he's spending time with his wife and children, repeat-viewing favorites on 4k or Blu-Ray, working for rebranding agency Mekanic, or playing acoustic shows and DJing across the DC/MD/VA area. Special thanks go to Jenn Carlson, Moira and Ari Pasa, Viki Nova at City Dock Digital in Annapolis, Mike Parsons, Philip Van Der Vossen, and Dean Rogers.

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