90 Feet From Home tells the story of Scott Conway (Adam Hampton), who along with his brother Tommy (Thom Hallum), had to deal with an abusive stepfather named James Devine (Shawn Michaels) growing up. As they all grew older (and grew apart), Scott tried his hand at becoming a baseball player, but his troubled upbringing took him away from the game and brought him back home to his stepfather with revenge on his mind.
The film opens with a brilliant scene of Scott by his truck. It hooks audiences immediately, as within seconds of it starting you’re asking yourself the question that persists throughout the film, “will Scott pull the trigger on James?” We then go back to their younger days, where we uncover the reasons behind each character’s anger and emotional baggage.
The first scene we see between James and a young Scott is uncomfortable, and without warning (or reason), James attacks his son. It makes you uncomfortable, angry, and yet, unable to look away from this gritty narrative that is unfolding before your very eyes. The film’s slow pace also helps these scenes sink in because, for those who are a little squeamish when it comes to violence, there is no luxury of fast cuts. You’re forced to feel Scott’s emotions, which in all honesty are emotions one can easily to relate to.
The relationship between Scott and James is one of the strongest parts of 90 Feet From Home, with Shawn Michaels performance being a big part of its success. For those that are familiar with Shawn’s wrestling career, they will know that he is great at using his facial expressions to convey different emotions, and that is a skill he has brilliantly transferred to the big screen. Although his dialogue delivery was a little weak at times, Shawn spoke volumes with his facials, and with one helpless look on his face, he somehow manages to make us feel sympathy for this unlikeable character.
The film also does a good job at slowly revealing pieces of information. If there are moments where audiences feel like they may be losing interest, director Brett Bentman pulls them back in with a clever twist. However, this film is not without its faults.
Brett Bentman’s choice to use a slow pace is effective, but unfortunately, it does begin to drag during the over two-hour runtime. There are scenes, most notably when Scott meets a young girl at a bar, that have next to no impact on the overall narrative. Shortening the length of the film, as well as minimising the use of dialogue in certain scenes would have gone a long way to making 90 Feet From Home a much smoother experience for audiences.
Plus, Scott’s brother Tommy, who is a cop, comes across as a rather poor cop at times. Understandably, he struggles to deal with events involving his family, but he also blatantly ignores important information to help keep people safe. So there are moments where you find yourself thinking about a character’s flaw, which is not a good thing.
Ultimately, though, director Brett Bentman’s bold and brave approach works, and despite having some weaknesses, interesting plot twists and a pleasantly surprising performance from the ‘Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels carries 90 Feet From Home.
Dir: Brett Bentman
Scr: Brett Bentman
Cast: Shawn Michaels, Adam Hampton, Thom Hallum, Eric Roberts
DOP: Anthony Gutierrez
Runtime: 125 minutes.
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