Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
USA, 2020. Big Indie Pictures, Original Headquarters, Scrap Paper Pictures. Screenplay by Julia Hart, Jordan Horowitz. Cinematography by Bryce Fortner. Produced by Rachel Brosnahan, Jordan Horowitz. Music by ASKA. Production Design by Gae S. Buckley. Costume Design by Natalie O’Brien. Film Editing by Shayar Bhansali, Tracey Wadmore-Smith.
Rachel Brosnahan knows that her husband Bill Heck is not exactly a boy scout even though she’s not involved in the life of crime with which he supports them in their big, beautiful suburban home. Installed as the perfect homemaker amid the brightly colourful seventies decor, she’s not much of a cook but he doesn’t mind, and she doesn’t ask questions when he comes home toting a baby that he tells her is theirs to raise. One night after going out on a job with his colleagues, Heck doesn’t come home and she is woken up in the middle of the night by a stranger (an excellent Arinzé Kene) who instructs her to pack her bags and hit the road, taking her and baby Harry to another house where he instructs her to keep to herself and not speak to anyone. When that goes awry, she and this stranger hit the road again, this time to a remote cabin in the middle of nowhere. She slowly pieces together what it is that her husband has done and why there are men after him, eventually making her way back into the city with Kene’s wife Marsha Stephanie Blake to clean things up and put a stop to all the running. The shadowy cinematography gives touches of a modern noir in this enjoyable character piece that is blessed by Brosnahan’s terrific performance, her incredulity at absolutely everything that happens to her is always compelling and helps draw us into the mysterious web of personalities that the screenplay weaves so spontaneously. What it doesn’t deliver on, though, is the premise it sets up and which it hints at in its title; Brosnahan awakening to a life that requires more than just going along with pleasing her husband as a suburban Stepford wife never happens, there’s no sense that the character is a different person at the end of the film than she was at the beginning (which we assumed was going to happen considering all the eggs she wastes trying to learn how to cook). It almost compensates for this lack of depth with a series of terrific sequences, particularly the breakout of violence at a club in the third act that is masterfully restrained, but without giving Brosnahan the chance to be more than just surprised but steady from beginning to end the conclusion is not as strong as it should be. The ensemble cast all deliver, however, and keep you from regretting having spent your time with it.