film reel image

film reel image

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Hero 2017 * * 1/2 Stars


2017's The Hero represents Sam Elliott appearing in a film nearly five decades after he began his career. You could say it's perfect casting with Elliott, who at 71 years old fits his aging, movie icon character like an ISOTONER glove. Yup, before Burt Reynolds did the same old shtick in The Last Movie Star and after Al Pacino got his sing on via '15's Danny Collins, there was Elliott looking weathered and languid, like he couldn't find his long-lost puppy. His persona (Lee Hayden) knows that his best days in the biz are behind him. We the viewer, well we feel the same woe.

A scorched look here, a dream sequence there, a jittery camera movement and famous mustache everywhere, The Hero is about Lee Hayden and how he deals with the tail end of his life and the tail end of well, the film industry. You see Elliott's Hayden is terminally ill and fancy-free, spending his days doing acting voice-overs, smoking ganja, drinking, waiting for an actual job, and ruing his relationship with his estranged daughter (Lucy Hayden played by Krysten Ritter). When Lee later on romances a young siren (Lauren Prepon as Charlotte Dylan) and gets invited to a ceremony to receive a life achievement award, he sees it as a last hurrah for himself, a sort of white-knuckle purging before the whole fated ship goes down. "I'm nothing without all of you". Maybe.

Death, robbing the cradle, and recreational drug use aside, "Hero" is mainly a character study brought to you by director Brett Haley in earthy, old Hollywood fashion. At 96 minutes, The Hero is also sort of arc-less and dolefully vibe-d, letting Elliott's Hayden wade through a bunch of fade-in, fade-out Holly-weird-s until the film's abrupt conclusion leaves you pondering more than perusing. Mixed "white hat". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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