A Dark Place / Steel Country (2018)

Director: Simon Fellows Writer: Brendan Higgins
Starring.Andrew Scott, Bronagh Waugh, Denise Gough, J.D. Evermore. Canada. 1h 29m.

Irish stud, Andrew Scott stars in this muted drama that hinges on a community that is constantly turning a blind eye to some of the most horrific events that could happen behind closed doors.

When a young boy, Tyler Zeigler, goes missing in a sleepy fictional backwoods town of Harburgh, Pennsylvania, a former steel town that has seen brighter days. A local garbage truck driver and single father, Donny (Scott), plays detective, embarking on a precarious and obsessive investigation. Donald Devlin isn’t like all the other people in his town, and it’s kinda hard to pin point exactly what his ailment is, autism is top of my list but I’ve never quite seen a detective like him, Monk (2004-2009) had OCD along with a range of fears and phobias, Poirot was also OCD and it seems these afflictions help the perception of these amazing individuals, Donald is a special Samaritan, for the most part it’s easy to understand his concerns but every now and again he comes swinging from left field and does something really random as he attempts to grasp the world around him.

Supported spiritually by his disabled mother and with Donna Reutzel (Bronagh Waugh), and his back up and companion, both at work and on covert missions, Donny really does get himself into the thick of the situation and is soon a target of the local authorities as well as many nameless criminals. But for the sake of his own sanity and justice he soldiers on, the only thing that will dissuade his energy is trying to be the best dad to his young daughter Wendy. Despite the pain his presence causes her mother who saw Donny as a easy one night stand while drunk but can’t not be a bitch about it.

The boys mother and local police department don’t really seem to be reacting in the right way, the confusing and suspiciousness surrounding the missing boy is confusing and it’s hard to believe that Donny is the only person to spot this, he’s certainly one of very few to really make a point of questioning it, but this is one of a few plot holes that A Dark Place is riddled with, despite the best efforts from Simon Fellows to sugar coat the film in a nostalgic hue and to tantalise the audience with the last remnants of beauty in this run down town, enhanced by atmospheric photography by Marcel Zyskind.

Scott is in full focus throughout the movie and the chemistry between Scott and Waugh makes A Dark Place worth watching, until it all starts to fall apart, sadly the film maybe would have worked better with a slightly different ending but with a character as unpredictable as Donny at the helm it really could have gone anyway.

At one point his hacks his daughters Facebook account to contact the missing boys brother, then confronting the boy and his friends in person he also chucks in a good word for her, but the kids don’t know who she is, he’s also subject to a number of threats, finding animals stabbed to his front door at a midnight altercation on a bridge is one of the darker and more sinister moments, but the one which really kicks the movie into gear is when Donny digs up a corpse to ask a cop a question, it’s this bizarre touch with reality which adds some spice to what would otherwise be a flat offbeat crime thriller. It’s a good film, approached in a new an interesting way but I can’t help thinking that something is missing, the balance just isn’t right but Donny is a new type of good buy which needs to be recognised in film and I think this is a bright entrance.

Donny really is a lovely character that you want to see succeed but also feel that you need to care for him, his bravery and boldness is outstanding and the challenging character was aced by Irishman Andrew Scott with a solid accompany from Bronagh Waugh they are a due to remember even if the movie fails to really give substance to their efforts.

Rating 6/10

RInto the Furnace (2013)
L – Old Steel Towns, Murder Mysteries, Detectives,
5s – Andrew Scott

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