Amy Carr (Naomi Watts) is still grieving for her husband. She’s trying to get by and still has a regular routine like jogging in the woods to try and take her mind off things. However, she only has her son, Noah (Colton Gobbo) to lean on. Also, Noah isn’t handling the loss very well either.
Then one day whilst out on her regular run, Amy gets a notification on her phone that Noah’s school has gone into lockdown after a shooter has been identified on the grounds. Five miles from town by now and with no quick access to any answers or a fast way home, Amy has to find her way to her son whilst dealing with the events as they happen.
The Desperate Hour (or Lakewood in the UK) is a thriller directed by Philip Noyce and written by Chris Sparling. It seems that the way in which the story unfolds in The Desperate Hour may be inspired by other films, many of which have won awards for their stars such as Locke starring Tom Hardy and Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. This is notable because for the vast majority of the film, Naomi Watts is the only actor on screen.
Watts is of course an accomplished actor and holds the attention of the audience right the way through, but some may wonder if her performance is the thing that’s driving the film and the plot is secondary.
It may not necessarily go that far though, as the next plot point is quite literally at Amy’s fingertips. So, it seems that the thriller format is what overtakes any temptation to play to the audience and so despite the contrivances of Amy’s involvement in that plot, it moves along.
Putting a mother at the centre of a story such as this is certainly unique as it may normally be told from a student’s perspective. Pairing that with the way that it’s told and The Desperate Hour gives its audience something familiar, but done in an original way.
However, despite the good intentions of the message at the end, it does feel more generic than the poignant message it wants to portray.
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