Run (2020)

In this simple, but fun plot, director Aneesh Chaganty maintains a tight narrative, executes some brilliant editing, and draws out from his two female leads nail-biting performances that make this thriller well worth a watch.

OBLIGATORY PLOT RECAP: Chloe is a highly-intelligent, capable 17-year-old girl with a slew of physical disabilities and ailments. Regardless, she is looking forward to shrugging off her small-town life and heading to college, that is, if she can escape the control of her manipulative mother whose dark secrets run deeper than Chloe fears.

Sarah Paulson has practically made a career out of playing insane characters who simmer behind her eyes, leaving you a bit frightened about when she’s going to lash out. And, as usual, Paulson delivers her performance in spades. Watching her character struggle to maintain control when her world begins to crumble is terrifying because you know that whatever bad she’s done still isn’t the worst she can do.

Kiera Allen, who plays the wheelchair-bound Chloe–and who is disabled in real life–makes her feature film debut in “Run,” and holds her own against Paulson’s veteran-level acting chops. Allen makes you feel every bit of suffering Chloe goes through. She never stops for a second to lament her circumstances, but forges ahead as all good proactive heroines should!

It’s a shame watching the media parade around “strong female characters” like Captain Marvel, Rey Palpatine, and Mulan who are nothing more than Mary Sues in their own stories, when brilliantly written female characters like Chloe are struggling to be noticed. This movie made me think of 2019’s “Crawl,” starring Kaya Scodelario, who played another wonderfully-written female character whose courage, wit, and proactive approach to conflict was character-driven and not magically bestowed upon them because the plot demanded it.

I feel like some critics are being unfairly harsh on this movie. David Fear over at Rolling Stone called it a two-star “misstep,” while Jeannette Catsoulis at The New York Times insinuated that it’s a bad thing that the movie doesn’t rely on flashbacks. Are you kidding me?! My screenwriting professor taught me that flashbacks are the laziest form of storytelling and I agree. They’re a cheap way to fill in the blanks, and “Run” is far more clever than that in how it unfolds its backstory.

“Run” is a very simple story and will feel predictable to many, but it’s got a few nice twists and turns that will still keep you guessing. The performances of the leads are what will grip you the most, especially Allen’s-who knew that watching a character try to write a single word with a crayon would make me cheer for them? You can do it, Chloe!

Review by AGuyNamedJake

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