Friday, May 15, 2020

Review: Castle in the Ground

Release date: May 15, 2020
Running time: 105 minutes
Starring: Imogen Poots, Alex Wolff, Neve Campbell, Tom Cullen

Castle in the Ground follows Henry (Wolff), who is taking care of his sick mother (Campbell).  Henry is delaying his own life to care for his mom, something that weighs on both of them.  However, after a tragic incident, Henry is drawn to his charismatic but troubled neighbor (Poots) who draws him into a wold of addiction and violence.  

Castle in the Ground has a fantastic, all-star cast who do an amazing job embodying these complicated characters.  Given the cast, you knew that they would completely transform for this movie, but it is really something to see.  I had especially high hopes for Wolff after seeing his phenomenal performance in Hereditary and he did not disappoint.  As Henry is drawn further into the world of addiction, his character changes both physically and mentally, all of which are conveyed perfectly by Wolff.  Poots is likewise fantastic as a charismatic but troubled junkie.  She does a great job of being disarmingly nice but also brutally callous when her addiction is driving her.  It was also great to see Neve Campbell back on the big screen as Henry's mother.  We don't see her much, but the scenes that we do get with her are wonderful.  

The cast come together to tell a powerful, depressing story that delves into the world of addiction.  This movie is not for the faint of heart as it is not a feel good movie.  It tries to depict how fast someone can get drawn into this world after a tragedy and does it with a well constructed narrative and stellar characters.  The one criticism I have is that Henry's descent seems to not have sufficient motivation built into it.  Some of that is explained later, but at the time it seems like a strangely steep cliff falls off.  However, I also have no exposure to this world, so maybe the edge really is just that slippery.  In any event, the power of the performances and impact of the story are enough to keep you engaged in this movie all the way to the end.

Castle in the Ground is a painful, deliberate descent into addiction that is fueled by a stellar cast, complex characters, and a powerful story.

Watch it.

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