Hit And Miss: Our Review of ‘Juggernaut’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 13, 2018
Hit And Miss: Our Review of ‘Juggernaut’

Saxon Gamble (Jack Kesy), like all prodigal sons, has to come home soon. Home to him is New Mexico’s small towns and dive bars where he hits on someone else’s girlfriend. Home is having to leave to go to jail for being in too many barfights. His brother Dean (David Cubitt) reluctantly allows him to live in a farmhouse. Dean tells him terrible news, that their mother Charlotte (Fanny Migneault-Leavalier) has killed herself.

Juggernaut is on Saxon’s side, as he finds that an insurance policy that benefits both him and Dean. He doesn’t want to take his share until he gets answers to the questions gnawing at him. Both the film and the character convinces us the audience that his mother isn’t the type to commit suicide. He also finds a recent business license that his mother got, a clue that he might be right.

The movie’s best asset is Kesy’s performance. Kesy is a watchable presence of an actor who doesn’t have to try too hard to be tough. He embodies weathered cynicism, especially since the only person he loves is a murder victim. He also speaks to the other cast members with effortless, dominating confidence. That’s not easy to do since most of the cast are older, gruffer men.

The film also presents a version of the West Coast where the wind always blows on distant mountaintops. Its inhabitants build homes and churches with shadows where they can hide. The shadows age these characters. What also adds to the film’s neo-western feel is the score. Its violins allow us to contemplate the loneliness of these men and their severed relationships with each other.

Juggernaut has its share of flaws. Kesy tries to add his own spin to Saxon. However, there are some familiar visual cues in Saxon that writer-director Daniel DiMarco borrows from other movies. There are also the archetypal minor characters bumbling through inappropriate dialogue. DiMarco might have been aiming for levity but this doesn’t always get traction especially now that audiences watch movies alone.

There are also a lack of female characters here, as it goes with the genre. Saxon’s mother appears as a young ghostly figure advising him from beyond. Another, more living female is Saxon’s sister-in-law Amelia (Amanda Crew) who at least gets to be both virtuous and sexually frustrated. It’s one of the cases where the side details gnaw at an otherwise strong center.

  • Release Date: 3/9/2018
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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