Aneesh "Searching" Chaganty's sophomore directorial effort is a Hulu Original hit which Netflix should be proud to have garnered the International rights for, affording a pleasantly original updating to themes from some familiar classics.
When is a Netflix film surprisingly good for Netflix? Well possibly when it's not a Netflix film. Adam Sandler's Uncut Gems, Tom Hanks' News of the World, Alex Garland's Annihilation - key to these is the 'exclusive distribution' they garner in some territories, an increasingly common trait in the current climate. Sure, there are some decent Netflix Original movies, but they shouldn't necessarily be confused with films like this, which weren't actually made at the Netflix processing plant.
Spends just the right amount of time on the character build-up before turning the thumb-screws on the audience, and leaving you wonder how this is ever going to get resolved
Run is good; it's very good. Desperately simple, yet painfully effective, it is the breakout effort for young actress Kiera Allen (celebrated due to the fact she's pretty-much the only wheelchair-using actress to have ever kicked off a career in Hollywood), who is unsurprisingly authentic in the lead role as a wheelchair-bound teenager on the cusp of going to college, whose whole world gradually starts to unravel around her.
Run comes to UK shores as a Netflix release, after they bought the international rights following its US Hulu Original release, and it earns a very nice Dolby Vision presentation, even without going full 4K. The colour scheme of the production is hardly expansive, but it's nicely handled nonetheless, and black levels are strong without getting into the indecipherable territory of some other Netflix Originals, which are steeped in impenetrable darkness. It's a nice looking feature and, second only to Apple, Netflix remain very reliable when it comes to top tier presentations (which you don't have to search for - *cough* Amazon *cough*).
Well worth checking out
Trading in themes explored by some of the best in the psychological/suspense genre, Run slow-builds the tension exquisitely, with Allen fully convincing as the loyal daughter who doesn't stop for a second to complain about the physical obstacles that plague her everyday life, and thus the perfect protagonist for the latter eventuality, which call upon her to go above and beyond - albeit within the confines of her situation - to help herself. Paulson is, well, Paulson - a consummate professional, but possibly in danger of being typecast at this stage in her career.
Chaganty executes the narrative expertly, allowing the audience to be just as confused - and trusting - as the daughter, whilst planting the seeds of concern over what exactly is going to unfold. It's a taut, tense ride, which, at just 89 minutes in length, spends just the right amount of time on the character build-up before turning the thumb-screws on the audience, and leaving you wonder how this is ever going to get resolved. The in-movie nods to the genre greats are superb too, with simple sequences like making a phone call or opening a door proving feats of veritable endurance, with tension cranked up unbearably. Well worth checking out.
Run is available on Netflix from 2nd April 2021, in Dolby Vision HD.
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