Although The Runner may not be easy to watch, itís an exciting cinematic experience. Skillfully directed by Michelle Danner and starring a charismatic young actor who reminds me of Leonardo Di Caprio in some scenes and James Dean in others, this intense movie never has a dull moment.
Edouard Philipponat (What Happened to Monday) turns in a remarkable performance as Aiden, the main character who gets arrested for his drug use and agrees to help bring down a dangerous drug kingpin. Philipponat shows a wide range of emotion while interacting with his characterís worried mother, his troubled girlfriend, his antsy drug dealer, a demanding detective, or even the kingpin himself. Whether sad, joyful, angry, nonchalant, violent, calm or frightened, Philipponat is always believable.
And he was definitely ready for his close-ups, Mr. DeMille!
Ravaged by drugs at early age,
Aiden tries turning a new page.
This teen-age boy goes underground
and works for police. Is that sound?
Itís risky, yes. But forced he is
or jail and disgrace will be his.
The young actor who plays this role
had to reach deep within his soul.
ďThe RunnerĒ almost breaks your heart.
Itís powerful right from the start.
Director Danner always tries
to make us care without trite lies.
Her movies give us food for thought.
And this one serves up quite a lot!
Filmmaker Danner never pulls any punches. In Hello Herman, she dealt with a shocking mass school shooting. And in Bad Impulse she frightened us with the potential danger of home security systems. Now she takes on drug abuse with all its tragic elements. As director and producer, Danner excels in combining perilous social issues with eye-popping entertainment.
Casting for The Runner is first-rate. For example, In addition to Philipponat, Elisabeth RŲhm (Joy) as the worried mother stands out. A shouting argument between this mother and son reveals how much they love each other despite their differences. Cameron Douglas (Loaded) also deserves recognition for his work as the hard-boiled detective who pulls Aiden into a world of unbelievable pain and suffering.
Itís no surprise that The Runner (written by Jason Chase Tyrell), has received several awards on the 2021 film festival circuit, including the following:
Best Feature USA: Ferrara Film Festival
Best Female Director: Montreal Independent Film Festival
Best Indie Feature: New York International Film Awards
Best Feature Film: New York Movie Awards
The Runner premiered at The Cinequest Film Festival and this week at Worldfest Houston.
(Released by All in Films. Not rated by MPAA.)