Netflix recommendation – The Living
Written and directed by: Jack Bryan
Teddy (Kranz) wakes up one morning to find himself on the floor, among empty beer bottles, and having bloody knuckles. He can’t find his Emily (Donahue) his wife (or his wedding ring) anywhere, and when he finally does he realizes that he, in an alcoholic induced blackout, beat her badly enough to leave cuts and bruises all over her face and body. Understandably, Emily’s mother (Carter) and brother Gordon (Wormald) are furious, and grow even more so when Emily agrees to return home with her apologetic husband.
After being ridiculed by his mother for not defending his sister, Gordon decides to take drastic action to ensure that his sister lives happily and is never hurt by Teddy again. He hires a hitman (Mulkey) to kill his brother-in-law. After some shocking events, Gordon begins to regret his decision, but it is too late to halt his agreement with the killer and things go from bad to much worse.
The message of Bryan’s film is clear (although a tad heavy handed at times). That message is that there are always consequences to your actions, no matter how hard you try to atone for them or how regretful you are about your decisions. The film is well-paced and incredibly well acted. There are no “A-listers” here but an ensemble of gifted actors playing their characters with admirable devotion. The show stealer for me has to be Kenny Wormald (“Love and Mercy”) as Gordon. He plays the role with an understated but impressive internal angst that elevates the whole film. I am calling it right now, this guy is going to be a star sooner rather than later. Jocelin Donahue (“The House of the Devil”) also impressed me quite a bit.
“The Living” will certainly be a hit with fans of neo-noirs like “Drive” and “Cold in July”. Bryan’s film is beautiful, gritty, and immensely entertaining. I would strongly recommend it, and it just so happens that it is now available on Netflix streaming. What are you waiting for?