Come to Daddy
come to daddy | ant timpson | toby harvard | elijah wood | stephen mchattie | garfield wilson | comedy | thriller | ireland | canada | new zealand | united states | madeleine sami | martin donovan | michael smiley | simon chan | ona grauer | ryan beil | raresh dimofte
Film: Come to Daddy
Director: Ant Timpson
Writer: Toby Harvard
Starring: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie and Garfield Wilson
This was a movie that I knew as coming out and was quite excited. From just things that I heard, Elijah Wood and Stephen McHattie are two actors that I’ve been quite impressed with in pretty much everything I’ve seen them in. I knew this was coming to the Gateway Film Center, so I made a point to see it when it finally did. It was interesting to hear an interview with the director, Ant Timpson, on the Shockwaves Podcast before seeing this to hear a bit about where the idea of this movie came from as well. The synopsis is a man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father.
We start this with Norval Greenwood (Wood) getting off a bus in the middle of nowhere. He has a letter with directions where he’s going. He walks through the woods to find an interesting house that is overlooking the water. He knocks at the door to find Gordon (McHattie). They embrace as they’re father and son and haven’t seen each other in a long time like the synopsis states.
The relationship is awkward, as Norval is a recovering alcoholic and Gordon is a full blown one. Due to the years apart, they’re feeling each other out as neither knows anything about the other. This makes for quite the tense interactions as we get that Gordon doesn’t respect his son and Norval is trying to impress him. There’s also something off about Gordon.
Things take a turn though when something happens as it causes Norval to descend into madness as he tries to find out the truth of what is going on here. Things are much darker than he realized about his father and things that he thought he knew might not necessarily be the case.
Now I wanted to go a bit lighter on the recap as this film doesn’t have the most complex story to it and a lot of the things to go over are actually in the latter half of the film which would involve me going into spoilers. I don’t want to do that here in the recap or this part of my review.
In the interview that I heard, this movie came from an experience where the director, Timpson, who is from New Zealand sat with his father after he passed away. It was odd having people come in that he never met and tell him things about his father that he never knew. This movie is a bit more extreme than that and where things lead here, but I thought that was an interesting premise that we got here.
This movie though is really driven by the acting. Woods and McHattie are great in this first part of the movie as they play off each other. Both are just so good at becoming the character that they’re playing. We do get more of a cast as things go on and I thought that they were all solid as well. The real villain here is solid with Jethro (Michael Smiley) along with the rest of the cast. They really do round this movie out for what is needed.
That will take me to the pacing for this movie, which I also thought was good. We get a normal run time of just over 90 minutes and I think that works. The first half hour is establishing these two characters. We then get an event that sends Norval spiraling and then we get reveals that lead us to the ending. It is oddly uplifting despite everything that has happened. What I also like here is that this is part comedy, but much more of a dark comedy. I don’t think that it ruins the movie as the jokes are pretty horrible and with my sense of humor, I can appreciate that. I would put this more akin to a Killer Joe type if you’ve seen that.
I want to shift over to the effects. They seem to be done mostly practical from what I could tell and if there is any CGI, it looked real to me. This movie does get quite brutal with what happens and I really can appreciate that. The blood looks good and seeing how violent this gets. The cinematography also was well done as I had no issues there.
The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. I’m trying to think back to it now, but I am drawing a blank. I do remember that it worked with what the movie was going for. The use of sound was also good though. There are some noises that are driving Norval mad and I really thought that worked. Overall I would say that it worked for what was needed, but not a soundtrack I would revisit often.
Now with that said, I did really enjoy this movie. It went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting and the premise behind where they came up with the story is interesting. This is a brutal film that kept my interest and I like how everything plays out. The acting was strong and it doesn’t outstay its welcome. The effects did look realistic with them mostly being practical. The soundtrack didn’t necessarily stand out, but I had no issues. The use of sounds though in the house was effective. I would say that this movie is above average overall. This might be one I would revisit again before the year ends as well.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Now this was a movie I thought I would bring this back here. The big reveal is that the noises draw Norval to a false wall in the hallway. He finds a photo album to discover that the man he thought was his dad isn’t really. The noises he’s been hearing are actually his real father, David (Martin Donovan) who’s been locked in a secret room. He goes there to talk with him and he wants Norval to kill the men who put him here. It turns out that his father is a bad guy. He fled to Thailand and robbed his friends who are Jethro, Dandy (Simon Chin) and Gordon. Norval is an artist who’s grown up in Beverly Hills when his mother doesn’t work. It turns out that his life has been completely funded by the money that his father stole. This was a pretty good reveal as to the truth of this, so Norval really has to decide to save his father, who’s a bad man or just walk away. The problem is that Jethro finds his tag on his luggage and knows where he lives. This helps with the change that comes over Norval in deciding what to do.