‘…Run sets up a Rear Window/Misery story of captivity and attempted break-out, but squanders almost all of the screen-time on admittedly engrossing physical detail…’

There’s something ironic about a film about trying to break out of your own house, particularly watched in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, and particularly coming from home-imprisonment specialists Netflix. It’s hard to quantify the alienating effect that fifteen months of ‘stay at home’ orders will have on our collective psyche, but this cautionary tale of a mother’s love will do for now. It’s not going to be easy to return to the social habits that took a century to develop in their present form; couch potatoes and joggy-bottom sporters can at least console themselves that the protagonist of Run has it much worse than any of us.

Actress Kiera Allen plays Chloe Sherman, a teenager home-schooled by caring, attentive mother Diane (Sarah Paulson); we’re in a backwater town, Pasco, Washington. Chloe has all kinds of medical ailments that keep her in a wheelchair, but hopes to get to University some day, if she gets accepted. But waiting for that envelope seems to be taking longer than expected, and Chloe begins to wonder about her mother’s intentions; the labels on her medication suggest that her drugs are being tampered with, but why? Chloe begins to think that her mom might be gas-lighting her, and while her mother’s attention is elsewhere, begins a clandestine investigation of her situation….

A Lionsgate cinema film, distributed by Hulu in the US and Netflix internationally, Aneesh Chaganty’s film has many of the same issues as his previous effort Searching, namely a plot that falls apart in two seconds if you think about it at all. Run sets up a Rear Window/Misery story of captivity and attempted break-out, but squanders almost all of the screen-time on admittedly engrossing physical detail. Diane is a fearsome character, in terms of her potential abuse of her daughter, but once she starts disposing of inquisitive mail-men (and their trucks) Run somewhat jumps the shark, nukes the fridge and generally takes leave of its senses. Pasco is shown as a one-horse, one-street town and yet for dramatic purposes has a cinema with improbably-packed daytime screenings, with forthcoming attractions including a screening of ‘Fake News’.  It’s worth asking why the inhabitants of Pasco aren’t at home watching Netflix like everyone else, but I guess Chloe needs a crowd to slip away into. A final table-turning flourish adds an air of EC Comics Gothic melodrama, but such hambone elements might have worked better earthed as part of the overall plot-line rather than a mad punchline.

All that said, Run does a better job than Searching of getting a high-concept over the line, thanks to a reliable if increasingly typecast Paulson as the Mommie Dearest, and from Allen, who has MS in real life, and manages to rise to the tough physical demands of a tricky role. That Run works at all is due to Allen’s empathetic presence; Netflix are happy to play up the use of a disabled performer in a modern parallel to 1948’s John Sturges film The Sign of the Ram, and the comparison isn’t unwelcome given the quality of the acting here. With allusions to Hitchcock, and Stephen King, Run is a palatable enough time-passer, but Chaganty might want to seek out a script-doctor before churning out any more hokey thrillers like this.


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  1. Nothing wrong with a good hokey thriller. Although if anyone starts to do the hokey-cokey – reference I’m sure your educated readership will understand – , it’s time to split.

  2. If you are comparing this film, even tangentially, to the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, that’s enough to sink it to the bottom of the sea for me…

    • Good. Crystal Skull was awful, and to be fair, then ingredients of the new Indiana Jones film sound even worse if that was possible…

          • Thanks for the link. I have to say, I’m kind of lost as to WHY they would create another. Crystal Skull was bad enough that I thought they learned their lesson. I guess not.

            I don’t know anything about bridge, but after reading her imdb page, I think you are correct. Sigh…

            • Bridger is every bit the kind of of-the-moment conic that Russell Brand was a decade ago, and look what happened to him. Crystal Skull was dismal, and the film was a disgrace. Please, film-makers, quit while you are ahead!

              • I also don’t know Russell Brand, so I’m guessing he made a splash and then disappeared or started starring in c-list movies?

                I’m wondering if we should start a go-fundme campaign to send us to hollywood so we can protest Indie 5? I’d gladly carry a sign against it….

  3. Run felt like a 1990s high-concept throwback, somehow. Some of the dialogue and plot machinations were atrocious, and I thought Paulson was one-note and ridiculous in this although the script didn’t help her. But there were moments that were surprisingly tense, particularly the scene in the pharmacy. A Friday night popcorn movie, a bit daft and forgettable, but enjoyable nonetheless.

    • And like you, I did enjoy it, but as with Searching, I was left scrambling to figure out some of these plot moves. Paulson really must do something to arrest her descent into pantomime villainess roles, it’s getting tiresome. And while the phramacy scene was good, why was it so busy? This film was well-made, and yet in service of a plot riddled with ‘wut?’ moments….

    • I could easily be convinced that this virus was created in an underground lab with the word (Netflix Captive Viewer Project) in flaky paint on the door…

  4. I hate plots that falls apart in two seconds, even if there are good characters. We’re putting in the effort to watch your film, at least put in the effort to make it logical.

    • How many tiny towns do you know that have packed main-street, daytime cinemas? I get the impression that the people that come up with this stuff have never set foot in the actual world…I tuned up with my brain switched on, why didn’t the people who made this film?

  5. Interesting that there seem to be a lot of movies going down this road lately. I thought it started out with 10 Cloverfield Lane. Also seems to tie in to the documentary last year about the girl who was presented as being disabled by her mom and she ended up killing her mom along with her boyfriend. Or something like that. Can’t remember the name of it.

    • Yup, there is a real life case to base this on, although I suspect the details were more convincing than the ones in this lulu…

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