Josh Lucas plays the father in the 1958 case, a character named Matthew, and his three sons are named Mark, Luke, and John. Taken together, those are the names, in traditional Catholic order, of the New Testament's four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. See more »
We see the box being buried in concrete, yet when the box is being dug up it is just buried under earth. See more »
Tom Adkins Sr.:
He has his mother's eyes. Her hair. My face, my laugh. First time I held him I knew he was my son. The best of me and his mother. I can still see his eyes light up watching those fireworks. I gave him everything a father can give a son. And now with all this searching, being a cop, being a father, I still can't find my boy.
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Intense character study with nice touches of surrealism
The plot is pretty simple: a man who is searching for his lost son gets wrapped up in a parallel mystery from 50 years earlier. It isn't intended to be a Hitchcockian thriller with lots of action, twists & turns, but instead it's a great character study into the mind of a man who borders on obsession. It asks the questions: when are we supposed to let go, and if we do pursue closure, at what cost? Over the course of his many-year investigation, the man's life becomes a total mess, and in that respect we see some interesting parallels with the excellent Clint Eastwood film "In the Line of Fire" (about a secret service agent who fails to save JFK and who is tasked with foiling a similar assassination decades later). Both films ask us what is the difference between perseverance and obsession? The answer, even after the credits roll, is up to you.
Something I really liked about this film is the way the director used surrealism to blend the two timelines, 1958 and 2008. Scenes would blend seamlessly from one to the other. For example, there's one shot in a bar where the camera flows through the room beginning in 2008 and ending in 1958 without any cuts. This subtle style, in addition to the underlying mystery of the whole story, forces the audience to keep on their toes.
The basic plot is pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of background questions & themes that are not as obvious. These questions give the film substance. Religion is a minor theme that crops up visually in the form of crucifixes and subtle lighting effects. Guilt is another subtle yet powerful theme. I also sense a bit of existentialism in that the heroes are subjected to some rotten luck without any apparent rhyme or reason, and it is only through the individuals' strength of character that they manage to make it through the day. In all, there's a ton of stuff going on, and if you like your films to be full of philosophy and questions of morality, this will be a real treat for you.
Other great films worth checking out are "Changeling" (2008) about a woman searching for her lost son, "A Very Long Engagement" (2004) about a woman searching for a soldier reportedly killed in action, the aforementioned "In the Line of Fire" (1993) about a secret service agent trying to redeem himself for losing JFK, and a wonderful unknown gem called "Into Temptation" (2009) about a priest trying to find a suicidal confessor before it's too late.
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