(director: Phillip Noyce; screenwriter: Chris Sparling; cinematographer: John Brawley; editor: Lee Haugen; music: Fil Eisler; cast: Naomi Watts (Amy Carr), Colton Gobbo (Noah Carr), Sierra Maltby (Emily); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers; David Boies, Andrew Corkin, Alex Lalonde, Chris Parker, Zack Schiller, Dylan Sellers, Chris Sparling, Naomi Watts:  Limelight; 2021)

“Lacks substance.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Aussie filmmaker Phillip Noyce (“Salt”/”Rabbit-Proof Fence”) directs and Chris Sparling writes the screenplay for this intense drama that takes its story from the newspaper headlines of the day. It worships the smartphone and its star Naomi Watts (Who is onscreen alone for most of the film), and revolves around a mass shooting by an active shooter at the local high school in North Bay, Ontario, in which her teen son attends.

After a year as a widow,
Amy (Naomi Watts) and her two children, Emily (Sierra Maltby) and Noah (Colton Gobbo), are still trying to recover from the loss of the family patriarch during a car accident.

While jogging in a wooded area, Amy learns through her iPhone of the school shooting and school lockdown, as she jogs back to town to get to the school as she’s worried about her son’s safety.

Unfortunately this pandemic shot film doesn’t quite work, even if Watts is convincing, as it lacks substance.

It premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.

REVIEWED ON 1/16/2022  GRADE: C+