Run Sweetheart Run (2022) Movie Review – A cat and mouse thriller with some shocking surprises
A cat-and-mouse thriller with some surprising surprises
Run Sweetheart Run was originally shown at Sundance in January 2020. It was then scheduled for theatrical release. After the pandemic, the film was delayed along with several other planned releases.
According to online information, Universal Pictures later canceled the film but Amazon Studios purchased the film for release. Shana Feste, director of the film, decided to rework and reshoot scenes to improve the script. This was presumably to make the story more relevant to the social messages she wanted to emphasize in the narrative.
Although I don’t remember the original film’s look, the finished product is excellent, even though the premise seems familiar.
Cherie (Ella Balinska), an unmarried young mother in Los Angeles, is the protagonist. Cherie (Ella Balinska) dreams of becoming an attorney, but the chauvinistic attitude at her law firm makes it nearly impossible for her to rise to the ranks. James Fuller (Clark Gregg), her boss, don’t take her requests for promotion seriously. Cherie has to accept that she will have to do secretarial duties as a substitute.
Cherie believes her fortunes have changed when James invites her to take a client out to dinner. She is thrilled to have the chance and she quickly falls in love with the client, an attractive man named Ethan (Pilou asbaek). He and she form a mutual attraction, inviting them to have a drink at his home after the meal. He offers to take her out, but she soon regrets it.
Cherie walks through the front door of the man and Ethan looks at the camera. He holds his hand up as if he is denying the viewer access to his home. The sounds of Cherie struggling inside and outside then keep us outside. Cherie then runs out, looking terrified and disheveled. After the word RUN appears in large red capitals, a protrusive music score plays. The movie kicks into high gear when Cherie runs for her life on the streets of Los Angeles while Ethan chases her.
The premise of “Women in peril” movies is something we have seen before. This film is not your typical sex movie so don’t overlook it. Cherie is forced out of her home and finds herself in some difficult situations. But Ethan isn’t your typical sex-pest figure. The film’s story doesn’t take the expected turns. This film is more horror than psycho-thriller and has some unexpected plot twists that cannot be predicted.
Based on Feste’s own traumatizing date, the film depicts her running from a Hollywood Hills man’s house with no shoes, no phone, and no purse. According to interviews Feste gave EW her night was more difficult because the people she expected would help her didn’t. Although I am not sure who the director was referring to, Cherie isn’t assisted by the police or certain members of her sisterhood. It could be that Feste also had an experience like that.
Despite the film’s disturbing plot, it is still very entertaining. Feste’s ability to keep us on our toes while she shoots Cherie as she runs from one frightening situation to the next is what makes the film so exciting. The fast camerawork and narrative twists mean that we are not allowed to pause for breath. Even when things slow down, there is always tension because Ethan could appear to cause havoc.
Run Sweetheart Run has many positive aspects. However, the director’s clever use the fourth wall to acknowledge the existence of the audience deserves special praise. Ethan raises his hand to the camera to deny us entry to his house. But there are many other instances when he looks at the camera with a knowing smile, just before committing a terrible act. The film seems to make the experience more painful as the consequences seem more real. We almost feel like we are watching the terrible events unfold onscreen, just as the people who do nothing to help Cherie.
The director might be pointing fingers at those who watch in horror the perilous state of the people, but she is really focusing on men and the patriarchal structure within our society. This is evident when Cherie is abused by her boss at her law firm. However, there are other scenes in the film that show the sexist attitudes that have kept women in peril.
Run Sweetheart Run has strong social messages and shocking moments of horror. It also features stylish direction and great acting from its leading actress. It’s a great surprise that Amazon didn’t abandon this film. It’s far more interesting than the other ‘woman-in-peril’ movies, which are far more exploitative than this thought-provoking gem.
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