You Can’t Run Forever Review



Summary

  • J.K. Simmons is magnetic and malevolent as a relentless killer in
    You Can’t Run Forever
    .
  • A visceral thriller that ultimately leads to uplifting themes of family, despite an ending that wraps some things up too quickly and becomes unfocused.
  • There’s a surprising break from the intensity that cleverly establishes Simmons’ character in a way that illuminates his motives. It works.

Two movies are being released this week that share a common trait: They both center on psychopathic killers who seem to lack a motive in their routine executions. Oh, and they’re both being released by Lionsgate. There’s The Strangers: Chapter 1, the first installment of Renny Harlin’s reimagining of Bryan Bertino’s hit 2008 horror classic. Then there’s You Can’t Run Forever.

Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons leads the charge in what’s more of a thriller, though perhaps equally bone-chilling thanks to his wife Michelle Schumacher’s skilled writing and direction. Unfortunately, the end result throws too much at us, with competing protagonists and themes that leave us wondering what the film truly is about. But leading up to the rolling credits, it’s mostly a visceral thrill ride that reminds us how terrifying Simmons can become on the big screen.

J.K. Simmons Begins as a Killer with No Motive: ‘Does It Matter?’

You Can’t Run Forever (2024)

3/5

You Can’t Run Forever is a thriller directed by Michael Johnson and released in 2024.. The film follows a former CIA agent, played by Chris Evans, who finds himself entangled in a dangerous conspiracy that forces him back into the world of espionage he tried to leave behind.

Release Date May 17, 2024

Director Michelle Schumacher

Runtime 1h 42m

Writers Carolyn Carpenter , Michelle Schumacher

Studio(s) Rubber Tree Productions , Voltage Pictures

Distributor(s) Lionsgate

Pros

  • J.K. Simmons is reliably magnetic, and very malicious here.
  • A visceral thriller that nonetheless adds uplifting family themes by the end.

Cons

  • Ultimately tries to do too much and becomes unfocused, ending one great storyline too soon.
  • Simmons’ character is a bit too one-dimensional.

You Can’t Run Forever starts on a winding road, with a seemingly innocent middle-aged man we later learn is named Wade (Simmons). He weaves through picturesque landscapes on a motorcycle and ultimately touches down at a rest stop. Even the most seasoned of road trippers need a breather every now and then, but this one’s different.

Guns are drawn, bodies fall, and a police investigation is spawned. “Does it matter?” Wade quips matter-of-factly as he aims a loaded pistol at the face of an unarmed man who had just rubbed Wade the wrong way. In this age of modern America where gun rights are forever a hot topic, a bullet-blazing thriller like You Can’t Run Forever certainly reminds us of the dangers of putting firearms in the wrong hands, to put it mildly.

You might just catch Whiplash vibes seeing the menacing-looking Simmons in the role of Wade here, especially when he’s donning just a T-shirt in the same sort of getup as Fletcher, the hard-nosed character that won Simmons Oscar gold back in 2015. Except Fletcher didn’t cruise around aimlessly with a gun to pick on — and pick off — innocent victims who may or may not say the wrong thing to grind his gears. That includes Miranda (Isabelle Anaya), who we quickly learn is a sufferer of panic attacks, and it doesn’t help that she’s also a rebellious teenager.

Related Exclusive: J.K. Simmons on Edward Hopper and Maintaining a Marriage of Artists J.K. Simmons voices artist Edward Hopper in a new documentary, and spoke with us about the film, art, marriage, and Clint Eastwood.

A Family Runs Into a Nightmare

Miranda’s dad passed away the year prior, and caring stepdad Eddie (Allen Leech) decides to take her for a drive after Miranda butts heads yet again with her mom, Jenny (Fernanda Urrejola). Of course, they happen to cross paths with Wade out on the road, seemingly in the middle of nowhere in this very rural community the film is set in. And once Miranda mouths off to the nosy Wade, the A-story kicks in to horrifying effect.

Frightening sequences captured during the daytime are sometimes all the more shocking on the big screen, which is how Wade’s run-in with Miranda kicks off. But then, night descends on the wooded area Miranda races through, in an effort to “Run Forever” from the stop-at-nothing killer. Hearing Wade belt out an elongated “Miranda!” as he searches the forest for her during the overnight hours is bone-chilling alone.J.K. Simmons’ performance here is very physical and relentless.

Back at home, Miranda’s mother, Jenny, becomes increasingly worried and gets likable deputies Dwyer (Graham Patrick Martin) and Morgan (Andres Velez) on the case to go look for her daughter. She’s right to do so, especially since news is cropping up about other victims in the general area dropping like flies at the hands of an aging, bald, white guy. Wonder who that could be…

Related 10 Animated Characters You Probably Didn’t Know Were Voiced by J.K. Simmons The actor who played The Daily Bugle’s editor-in-chief voiced a vast number of animated characters over the years. Here are some of them.

A Surprise Trip to the Past and a Thrilling but Cluttered Ending

In classic true crime sleuth mode, Jenny does her own digging online after gathering a few clues about who exactly this Wade guy is. She finds a video online of Wade, and then director Schumacher brings us right into Wade’s past in a surprising bit of expositional flashback. One could argue it’s sometimes more interesting not knowing what drove a person like Wade to madness, but this little bit of backstory marks an intriguing highlight.

Later on, the ending involving certain protagonists banding together to fight back might remind viewers of that climactic ending in The Girl on the Train (whose novel was exponentially stronger, but that’s for another day). It’s an exciting third act, but unfortunately, it ends a certain remarkable character’s journey too soon — for a thriller like this, perhaps more of a cliffhanger ending would have been better suited. It’s all a bit cluttered, trying to wrap too many things up.

Simmons & Schumacher’s previous collaboration, 2017’s I’m Not Here, offered Simmons an equally juicy turn, even if he didn’t speak a single word in their first collaboration. With You Can’t Run Forever, Simmons gets to run his mouth to thrilling effect, but I’m Not Here was perhaps more emotionally impactful. Both study how the past affects the present in different ways, but even if You Can’t Run Forever lacks the poignancy of the memorable earlier film, it’s still a visceral thriller to get lost in.

From Lionsgate, You Can’t Run Forever was released in theaters, on digital, and on demand May 17, 2024. You can rent or purchase it on YouTube, Google Play, Fandango at Home, or through the link below on Apple TV:

Watch on Apple TV

Watch Our Interview with J.K. Simmons for the Film Below:

You can view the original article HERE.

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