Leave (Robert Celestino, 2011)
The bad news: I’m trying to be more aggressive about not letting review sit too long anymore, so I’m going through the header backlog and trying to at least start a whole bunch of reviews that have been sitting and waiting for me to write them for months. I was scrolling through the list and I came to the header for Leave. And I didn’t remember a damn thing about it, based on title, director, and release date. On the other hand, the good news: when I looked the movie up at IMDB and checked the plot summary, I remembered everything I had initially wanted to say about the movie by the time I’d read the first half of the first sentence. Which should point you to the predictable ending of this review, much as the opening scenes of Leave point you to the movie’s similarly-predictable ending. Leave is not a particularly bad film, though it is not, either, a particularly good film. Much of the reason for this is that, primarily, it is a safe film. It treads ground that has been trod many times by many other movies, but it does not do so in a way that distinguishes it either for good or ill.
Plot: Henry Harper (Sin City‘s Rick Gomez) is a novelist. After a recent piece of nastiness (a home invasion), he’s started having a recurring nightmare. His therapist (The Conjuring‘s Ron Livingston) suggests, reasonably, “hey, you’re a novelist, write it out.” So Henry decides to pack up his life, head for his remote second home in the middle of nowhere, and write a thriller based on actual events. On the way there, he stops at a roadside diner that you have seen in about a dozen films (literally, it’s the same one) that is weirdly deserted except for Chris (Righteous Kill‘s Frank John Hughes). Henry thinks Chris is a stranger…but Chris doesn’t think the same, and he knows more than enough about Henry’s life to convince Henry that, yes, something is amiss here.
And by this point, you should know exactly what that is because, as I said before, you have already seen this movie a few times. (I didn’t realize it until I was writing that synopsis, but there is actually a very obvious parallel with a much more famous movie, and if it became obvious to you as well while reading that, I apologize.) Given that, there’s nothing wrong with killing an hour and a half with this one, if that sort of woozy-spiritual-drama-thriller is up your alley, but you won’t be missing out on the Great American Celluloid if you decide you’ve got better things to watch. ** ½