A very down to earth story about how empty and lost people’s lives can get.
Take follows two strangers set on a collision course, Saul (played by Jeremy Renner) is a down on his luck unfortunate who finds himself in debt with the wrong people, and Ana (Minnie Driver) who is a struggling mother who decides to look after her son without schooling.
The film is an incredibly simple affair, in fact my synopsis captures it in a more ambiguous manner than the film does from the get go. We see Renner’s Saul imprisoned and thinking back about what got him there, and we have Driver’s Ana taking a roadtrip alone, to see “him”, a “monster”. We follow both perspectives as they recall past events towards the tragic moment when their lives met and changed everything.
The film is directed by Charles Oliver and this is his only directorial project. However the cinematography has a good feel to it. Renner’s existence is all played in cold blues and steely white, juxtaposed with Driver’s warmer oranges, which helps the audience keep up with the parrying screenplay that jumps around. The film also has a good build of tension, and the actual climax of the story actually vindicates some of the previous scenes’ shortcomings.
However, I didn’t feel anything. Renner’s Saul is imprisoned and it is quickly established that he is on death row for a crime he felt powerless to prevent, and the character Ana is practically vengeful against him. This is a powerful story, a very real and grounded story that replicates what must happen regularly… sadly… in the world.
So why didn’t I feel any pang of emotion watching it?
The material, the screenplay and the script, wasn’t powerful enough to really connect with these characters. Renner and Driver do well with what they have to work with, but with a film like this… you should be gutted, even crying. Instead it is a very cold, very morbid experience. Which some audiences will feel is deliberate, but I personally wanted a bit more emotional weight to the characters.
Overall, I wasn’t blown away by the experience or particularly moved, but as a film it was well made visually and had a good structure. But the emotional heart and material felt lacking, which for me is critical with such a story.