Adapted from John Searles’ novel, Strange But True is a twisty thriller about broken families, dark and tragic secrets and finding truth to miraculous events that are beyond comprehension. Director Rowan Athale and writer Eric Garcia do a solid job of getting all the important themes across on screen, which is helped enormously by strong performances that elevate the material beyond passable.
The story revolves around a young woman who’s suddenly pregnant five years after the death of her boyfriend, and it’s only after she meets up with his broken, dysfunctional family and puts forward the idea that the child could be his when the family decide to get to the bottom of what’s going on. That sense of mystery is maintained for as long as its needed, and it’s only after certain truths come out that the film takes a darker turn.
Despite being told ‘in media res’, which doesn’t really improve things and makes the film oddly structured, the pacing is solid and the juggling of characters is well-balanced. The cast delivers impressive performances. The ever-reliable Nick Robinson does a brilliant job, as does Amy Ryan who excels as the cynical yet still grieving mother. Also having impressed in TV’s The Leftovers, Donnybrook, and the recently-released Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Margaret Qualley still continues to impress as a real rising star in the making.
Strange But True is a solid twisty thriller that takes its time and gradually reveals its secrets, and while the answers may not be wholly satisfying or for everyone’s tastes, this is still an impressive film to check out, if only for the performances that are on display.
Dir: Rowan Athale
Scr: Eric Garcia
Cast: Amy Ryan, Nick Robinson, Margaret Qualley, Blythe Danner, Brian Cox, Greg Kinnear, Connor Jessup
Prd: Fred Berger, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Christina Piovesan, Deepak Nayar
DoP: Stuart Bentley
Music: Neil Athale
Run time: 96 mins
Strange But True on Digital Download 27th September from Vertigo Releasing