I'll Follow You Down (2014)
Directed by Richie Mehta.
Cast: Haley Joel Osment, Gillian Anderson, Victor Garber, Susanna Fournier, Rufus Sewell, John Paul Ruttan, Kiara Glasco, Sarah Manninen, Sherry Miller, Brandon Firla, Simon Reynolds.
2014 93 minutes
Not Rated: (equivalent of an R for language and brief strong violence).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, June 4, 2014.
It's worth a little side-eye that a movie called "I'll Follow You Down" doesn't feature even a hint of Gin Blossoms on the soundtrack, but there are unfortunately more pressing issues at foot with this earnest but undercooked mystery/sci-fi/drama hybrid. Written and directed by Richie Mehta, the film stars Haley Joel Osment (2003's "Secondhand Lions
") as 21-year-old Erol Whyte, an MIT hopeful whose father, Gabe (Rufus Sewell), vanished without a trace during a business trip twelve years earlier. Erol has tried to move on, but mom Marika (Gillian Anderson) has never been able to shake the haunting question of what happened to her beloved husband. When tragedy strikes again, Erol begins to reconsider his grandfather/physics professor Sal's (Victor Garber) theory that Gabe's disappearance is connected to a wormhole he managed to travel through.
With the exception of Gillian Anderson's (2012's "Sister
") affectingly somber turn as a woman who can never quite overcome the grief of not knowing what happened to her soul mate, "I'll Follow You Down" is in short supply of the gravitas the story requires. Characters do not react convincingly to losing loved ones, tonal shifts from the forlorn to the inspirational-cum-frothy are whiplash-inducing, and the third act (not to be revealed here) is ruinously lacking the existential weight one expects. The entire film has led to their centerpiece moment, yet there is no crucial connectivity between the two actors on the screen for it to seem like anything more than a reunion between distant sort-of acquaintances. If Mehta's treatment of time-travel and science feels like a rudimentary beginner's guide to these subjects (versus, for example, 2004's tastier mind-bender "Primer
"), an all-grown Haley Joel Osment is a welcome sympathetic lead, proving he still has a career ahead of him beyond his status as an Oscar-nominated former child star. Ambitious but clunky, "I'll Follow You Down" is not quite the picture to be Osment's post-adolescent breakthrough, but it is a step in the right direction.