About 15 minutes into Aneesh Chaganty’s thriller RunA narrative scene solidifies the fear that she will commit the worst cinematic sin of all. A daughter who is constantly ill, who takes a handful of pills every morning and night, and who has been in a wheelchair for as long as she can remember, asks her mother a question about her medication. Her mother responds with a laughing distraction and distraction. At that moment it becomes clear that Run won’t follow the winding path of Chaganty’s previous film, Search – Instead, it will be predictable. Run is exactly what you would expect when reading or watching Sharp objects, Read this Buzzfeed story about Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose or you’ve seen the Hulu miniseries about her, or if you’re quite naturally guessing Sarah Paulson now, having worked on Ryan Murphy’s increasingly eccentric projects for years. Despite some exciting sequences Run is more of a slog than a sprint.
Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian team up again afterwards Search, give Run an economically effective setup. Three scenes in quick succession illustrate the physical toll and potential horror of childbirth. A small baby lies on a hospital bed, hooked up to machines and surrounded by doctors. After a difficult job, Diane Sherman (Paulson) prays fervently. When she finally sees her baby again, she presses her hand against the side of the incubator that is keeping the little girl alive. Her face shows fear first, then relief, then fear – an alternating series of emotions that reveal a certain purposefulness. Diane is a mother and nothing else is more important to her.
Years later, Diane continues to dedicate herself to Chloe (Kiera Allen), who survived her challenging childhood but has had various illnesses ever since. A subheading shares Chloe’s innumerable health problems: arrhythmia, hemochromatosis, asthma, diabetes, paralysis. To the other parents in her home school group, Diane is outwardly proud of her daughter’s accomplishments (“Chloe is the most capable person I know”), but they are clearly addictive. Diane’s entire identity is linked to the fact that she is Chloe’s mother: she dictates her schedule, acts as a lawyer for doctors, fetches her many prescriptions and takes care of a large organic garden that supplies all of her vegetables.
And Chloe understandably relies on her mother for everything. The montage with which Chaganty demonstrates this trust has a biting rhythm: Chloe gets up every morning, maneuvers herself into her wheelchair, coughs up phlegm, takes her morning pills, eats the fresh organic breakfast that Diane has cooked, and goes to work Working on physics, literature, biology, and robotics, take her afternoon tablets, eat the fresh organic dinner Diane cooked, and do her homework. It’s monotonous and unchangeable.
The only possible surprise in Chloe’s life is whether she’ll be accepted by the University of Washington. If so, it will be Chloe’s first time in the world, which may trigger Diane’s reckless behavior. As Run As it progresses, the bond between mother and daughter transforms into an escalating series of reactions triggered by obsession and suspicion. What has been going on in this house deep in the woods in a small town for years and when did it become a prison?
Unlike in the methodical Whodunnit Search, Chaganty and Ohanian don’t tiptoe around character motivations Runwhich makes for a surprisingly flat story. Torin Borrowdale’s score, adorned with genre flourishes like screeching strings and moody synthesizers, adds a creepy vibe but can’t bear the burden on its own. Some of the plot developments are troubling at first, such as Chloe’s internet being disrupted when trying to research some of the pills her mother provided.
But a little attention leaves too much doubt on this narrative: Teenage Chloe has had access to the internet for years but has never created a social media account? She is portrayed as being ingeniously clever with robotics, but that same brain has never marveled at the claustrophobic island location of her world with her mother? She never thought about having a romantic relationship or wondered why her mother never introduced her to other children or encouraged her to make friends? There is an interruption Run between how knowledgeable and intelligent Chloe is and how long it takes her to act on her own behalf and thinking too much about that gap Run
The performances are the strongest asset of the film, the action sequences are close behind. Though there are sassy moments throughout (a reference to Stephen King’s Derry, Maine, and a movie Diane and Chloe watch) Breaking out) Paulson and Allen play most of it pretty straight forward. That directness adds the necessary tension, helps align the audience with Chloe’s realization that something is wrong with her mother, and reveals the depths of Diane’s villainy.
Everyone is wonderfully emotional and funny when the film allows it, like when they give the family pharmacist an angry “I know what secret means Mrs. Bates. “Chaganty’s decision to often frame her in close-ups, in which she is the only character on screen, reinforces the initial feeling of her shocked, appalled, and ultimately vengeful reactions. The second half of Run requires significant physicality from everyone, and her full-body engagement hammers home the urgency of these sequences. The scenes in which Chloe reveals her mother’s secret are most likely in line with the wisdom of Searchalthough her discovery has an anti-climactic feel to it, considering how far the audience will be before her.
Despite the stalinity of Diana’s character, Paulson’s appearance is happily wild. Between different rates of American horror story and the One flew over the cuckoo’s nest Prequel RatchetPaulson has developed the ability to tune in a penny and easily and annoyingly toggle between calm reassurance, fragile fear, and Vulcan anger. This quality of mercury defines their work in RunThis requires Diane to harness all of the compassion and sympathy that society easily offers to white women – and use it for their own agenda.
The momentum of her introductory hospital scene, with Diane wavering between concern and mania, persists throughout the film. It highlights how often this character uses the victim as a shield; Paulson is good at dealing with passive-aggressive feelings of guilt and fake martyrdom. Her growling fury the first time she yells at Chloe is a real “You in danger girl!” Wait a minute, and she kind of makes a statement as innocuous as “I have you” sounds like a boneless threat. But Paulson’s insane manipulations are underestimated by a narrative that collapses under the slightest scrutiny, and even a surprisingly nasty ending scene can’t complete it Run stand out from the steadily growing Munchausen Syndrome-by-Proxy subgenre.
Run is now streamed on Hulu.