Film Review: Run & Jump

There was something that kept drawing me back to Run & Jump. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The trailer for once created the image of a film that appears attractive and warm and interesting while at the same time not delving beyond the stoking of that initial intrigue, not giving away too much. And while that birth of curiosity was enough to draw me in and to make me want to see the film, it was not enough to give me a really clear picture as to what exactly to expect or what I was going to receive.

Obviously, going into any film, you will always have a preconceived idea as to what you are in for. Whether it’s the movie poster, trailer or even a critiques review something will always shape your initial opinions and expectations of the film ahead. And, for me at least, when those initial ideas are based on a single point of information, more times than not what I am treated to doesn’t fit the mental picture I originally create.

Run & Jump 01

And once again, going in have only watched the trailer, the film I was expecting to see and the film I got were poles apart. I think the problem was mainly down to the fact that I was expecting to see a film, to be told a story and rather Run & Jump is an emotional journey. It’s a narrative of a situation and because that narrative, those emotions are so singular and defined to one character, unless you been through them yourself, it’s virtually impossible to connect to or understand their motivations or the actions that take place.

As the film progressed I was getting a greater and greater sense that this film was almost somebody’s own personal release, that somebody involved in the creation of this film needed to find a way to take the rolling snow ball of issues within their life and and give them a voice. To remove them from their head and set them free. And this film is it. I’m not saying it’s based on a true story, but rather, that this film is the personification of the feelings held within from somebody’s own personal life. And it’s that overriding sense that this film is almost private, almost somebody’s personal emotional journal, that caused me to pull back from it slightly. I didn’t find it uncomfortable to watch, I just didn’t find it pleasant either.

This film almost feels like reading somebody’s personal diary without their knowledge. It’s so focused on the main character Vanetia, who it must be said¬†Maxine Peake brings to life stunningly, that it completely bypasses virtually every other character and ever other element of the film. It is so blinkered that it forgets to even clarify major plot elements that need to be explained. Essentially the idea is Conor (Edward MacLiam) suffers a stroke and after his limited recovery Ted (Will Forte), a Doctor, comes to study his recovery and return to family life for a paper he is writing. This pulls Vanetia in opposite directions as her love, loyalty and devotion to her husband is tested against the growing love born from the normality provided by Ted. All of which is intertwined with the story of their eldest child Lenny (Brendan Morris) acceptance of his sexual identity.

But that’s it, the major elements of Conor, Ted and Lenny are just the background noise to the emotional story of Vanetia. It is never explained exactly why Conor was chosen for the study, or why the paper is even being written. In terms of recovered stroke victims, sadly Conor doesn’t appear to be that far removed from a large number of other cases. And the side story about Lenny doesn’t fit the rest of the film, or even the tone it creates at all. Like I said this film feels like somebody’s emotional release to their private situation rather than any form of coherent or planned idea.

Run & Jump 02

The reason, I feel so strongly that this is the case is because of the disjointed nature of the film. You can almost see the elements that are being pushed on Vanetia. There’s almost a sense of using her to justify somebody else’s actions. Somebody was taking their real life problems and testing solutions through Vanetia and because those problems and Venetia are totally removed from me, my life and the world I live in, I found it a film that I just watched, never raising my emotions or moving me in any real way. I just sat there thinking that I was basically watching a “pros and cons” list of somebody looking to justify the decisions they made or the situations they faced.

I am sure there will be people out there, who will connect with major emotional elements of this film. If you’ve been torn with the choices, problems or questions this film searches to hypothetically answer you’ll connect, be drawn in and I’m sure rate it a lot higher than I do, but for me, it just missed the mark.

6 out of 10 stars (6 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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