Don’t Go is a new drama/psychological thriller starring Stephen Dorff. The film follows Ben, a writer who is grief-stricken over the death of his young daughter, as he begins to believe that he can bring his daughter back through a recurring dream he has,
Towards the beginning, this movie was extremely successful at characterizing its protagonist. In the first few scenes of the film, the audience is able to form an emotional connection with Ben because of the situation in which he finds himself. Because of this, the audience cares about the character’s actions for most of the first half.
Unfortunately, the film wrecks this strong development around the halfway mark with a frustrating “twist”. At this point, the movie makes the protagonist no longer feel like a victim of fate and instead a person being punished for his wrongdoing. The sympathy fades and with it goes the audience’s investment in the story.
Additionally, the story requires an absolutely ridiculous amount of suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer. The creativity that the writers show is certainly worthy of praise, as the plot has some legitimately new ideas, although these ideas do not seem to be based in any fact or religion. In fact, the plot device that pretty much drives the whole movie is rather far-fetched.
Due to the increased need for suspension of disbelief, much of the sincere emotion established by the film is replaced by a somewhat goofy-feeling supernatural storyline. It almost feels as if the movie had a hard time committing to either style and instead tries to handle both (and it isn’t particularly successful in so doing).
The film also struggles with its pacing. Even though its runtime clocks in at just around an hour and a half, it feels much longer. The story is quite slow, and while there are moments of intrigue, these are few and far between. Between the slow pacing, far-fetched storyline, and eventual abandonment of characterization, it becomes pretty easy to zone out.
That being said, the movie is surprisingly well-executed. The cinematography is (for the most part) quite minimalistic, but that works for the scale of the film. The score is also very well-used, crafting the tone. The main focus of the movie, though, is the highly nuanced lead performance by Dorff. His ability to portray emotion lends the film what realism it actually has.
Overall, Don’t Go has some strong moments, but is weighed down overall by its supernatural elements. Apart from a great lead turn by Stephen Dorff, there isn’t much about this movie that is particularly memorable.
Don’t Go is in select theaters and on VOD beginning October 26.