by Calhoun Kersten
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Angels Crest is a tragic story about an ill-equipped father losing his son. Angels Crest is also a mild thriller about a detective with a checkered past who finds himself drawn into the case. That’s the problem with the film honestly. It’s two stories going on at the same time. While this is nothing new about film, movies have been doing this for decades, but it takes a certain amount of talent to pull off an intricate and engaging story. Unfortunately, Angels Crest doesn’t have the courage of its convictions and finds itself double-guessing its direction about halfway through the film.
Ultimately, the main issue of Angels Crest is that it never seems sure of what kind of film it wants to be. It has the potential to be an unparalleled emotional experience about guilt and loss. At its worst, Angels Crest finds itself stumbling through a mess of clichés and uninteresting plot twists that come to an unsatisfying conclusion.
Still, Angels Crest is not a total loss. While the actual plot of the film is a muddled mess, the cast of actors does their best to turn it into something palatable. In actuality, Angels Crest owes all of its minor success to a cast of impressive actors and actresses. At the heart of this film is the sensational Thomas Dekker. Dekker tackles the lead role of unprepared father, Ethan, who loses his son when he leaves him in the car for a minute to track some deer. Once you can get past the unbelievable and undeniable stupidity of a man leaving his son to follow some deer, Dekker has a simple yet poignant complexity to him. The film alternates between faulting him and pitying him. It can never decide which to do, which is true to real life, but Dekker struggles to create a cohesive character from the writing. He does admirably but the writing of the film itself prevents him from achieving a truly commendable performance.
It’s difficult to describe how I feel after watching Angels Crest. The film certainly suffers for its story, but there are still some saving graces that keep Angels Crest from reaching the unsinkable lows that were possible. A good deal of that is owed to the cast which truly tries to make Angels Crest into something that it is, unfortunately, simply not. Instead of an emotionally rich tale of grieving, the film fluctuates between its dramatic roots and a clumsy cop story. Ultimately, Angels Crest is far from a must-see, but performances from Thomas Dekker and a cast of capable actors and actresses keeps Angels Crest from veering too far off the path.
Calhoun Kersten was born and raised in Cincinnati. He has lived in Chicago for most of his adult life where he continues to be over-educated and unemployable. He is finishing his masters at DePaul in media and cinema studies with a thesis on the narrative elements of horror franchises.
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