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‘Don’t Tell A Soul’ (review)

A teenage boy is bullied by his older brother into stealing $10,000 from an old woman’s home, which is currently unoccupied as it’s being fumigated.

The boys seem to have gotten away with it until they’re spotted by a security guard, who then chases the boys into the woods.

The guard gets very close to catching the younger boy until he suddenly falls through a patch of leaves covering a forest well.

Don’t Tell a Soul certainly hits the ground running, with the above action taking place in the first 5 minutes or so.

What follows is a cat-and-mouse between the injured and trapped security guard and the two boys.

The guard begs them to get him help and promises not to rat on them.

The eldest and far more ruthless and cynical of the brothers just wants to leave him for dead, as he doesn’t trust that the guard won’t tell.

The younger brother’s conscious won’t let it go and can’t bring himself to just let the man die.
The ugliness of the brothers’ relationship is revealed as the story progresses.

The older brother appears to a near-sociopath, always bullying the younger brother and being dismissive (at best) toward their mother, who is very ill with lung cancer (surprisingly, to me anyway, played by Mena Suvari).

This film has a good premise, setting up some interesting moral choices.

There’s also a lot of dark humor here, mostly delivered by the guard (played extremely well by an almost unrecognizable Rainn Wilson).

Around the halfway mark, Don’t Tell a Soul started to become a tad repetitive and tedious for me.

But just as I was about to let out a weary sigh, the film has a terrific reveal.

I won’t dare give it away, but it takes the film in a different direction that was quite welcome.

At 83 minutes, including closing credits, the film wisely doesn’t overstay its welcome, and despite that brief lull around the middle, moves along briskly.

As for the ending, I didn’t quite buy it on one level, but it works emotionally, and I didn’t see it coming.

This is a mostly taut, entertaining, sly and at times quite funny small gem. It’s worth seeing for Wilson’s performance alone, but it’s got many other pleasures that make up for its flaws.

Don’t Tell a Soul is available On Demand and Digital HD

Produced by Chris Mangano, Merry-Kay Poe
Written and Directed by Alex McAulay
Starring Jack Dylan Grazer, Fionn Whitehead,
Rainn Wilson, Mena Suvari

 

 

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