Actors: Will Forte, Maxine Peake
Director: Steph Green
Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
DVD Release Date: May 27, 2014
Run Time: 106 minutes
Not all of Run & Jump works; there are moments which feels somewhat directionless, making for a slightly uneven film. The inconsistencies of the storytelling are easily forgivable, however, because the acting in each of the roles is steadfast. Filmmaker Steph Green clearly has a gift in bringing the best out of her performers, from leads down to the bit roles, though this only makes the deficiency in other directorial duties more apparent. When all is said and done, however, this is an impressive debut feature for the filmmaker.
There is a basic plot description which sounds much more typical than the film’s approach to the material, and again thanks are owed to the cast and Green’s direction for touchingly real performances which allow us to forget about the conventions of cinematic narratives. Maxine Peake (“Silk”) stars as Irish housewife Vanetia Casey, a woman struggling to handle the pressures and tasks of running the family following her husband’s mentally debilitating stroke turns the happy family of four upside down. In order to help pay for the hospital bills, Vanetia agrees to let an American doctor named Ted Fielding (Will Forte) observe her husband’s behavior following the stroke for a case study. This requires him to move in with the family, essentially becoming an extended member with the more time he spends as one of them.
Vanetia’s husband, Conor (Edward MacLiam) may no longer be the man that she fell in love with, but he is still always a strong presence in the family and household. In some ways he is appears less mentally developed than their two children, at least in his maturity. This allows for Vanetia to welcome the intelligent banter that Ted brings in comparison, and their connection becomes apparent and understandable through Forte and Peake’s performances without much effort needed from the actual screenplay.
When all is said and done, this is exactly the type of film which is meant for independent cinema. There are chances taken and risks allowed, and sometimes this works wonderfully. One of these unexpected choices is the straightforward performance for “Saturday Night Live” cast member, Forte. He grows a beard and pulls off the best unexpected performance since Bill Murray in Lost and Translation.
The DVD special features include a making-of featurette with behind the scenes footage and a trailer.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 6/10