I’m sorry, Taylor Lautner, but I just don’t think this whole leading man thing is going to work out. In the time since The Twilight Saga came to a close you have given us no less than three modestly-budgeted films with you receiving top billing (not to mention a dreadful supporting turn in The Ridiculous Six), and so far not one of them has delivered anything of lasting value. I gave you chance after chance and you continue to disappoint. Clearly someone believes in you because you are still receiving offers, but after Run The Tide disappears from its limited release and the front page position on all video streaming platforms I imagine that faith my also begin to wane.
Lautner’s latest vehicle finds the former teen heartthrob stepping into the shoes of Reymund Hightower, an early 20-something who has spent the majority of his life being the guardian of his younger brother, Oliver (Nico Christou), following his abusive mother’s incarceration. With his mother’s release just days away, Rey begins to worry that he will lose his brother to a woman he still believes cannot be trusted. This, coupled with the fact he recently encountered a high school flame who is now living a full life in San Francisco, pushes Rey to a breaking point that he chooses to deal with by fleeing his small town with his sibling in tow. The pair are headed to the coast, but what they discover along the way tests the very foundation of their relationship.
The mother in question is played by Constance Zimmer, who I have to imagine owed a favor to someone on this film’s production crew because there is really no other logical explanation for her presence in this movie. She walks through her very limited screen time in Run The Tide with an effortless grace that is capable of conveying more in a single frame than the cumulative talent of everyone else involved in this painfully mediocre slog of a motion picture. There were several times I wanted to stop the film and have her exit, if only to save her from having to act opposite the rest of the cast for another moment. She alone is this film’s savior, and even her seasoned talent is not enough to do much, if any, good for the overall viewing experience.
I would never say that as long as you’ve seen one movie about an older sibling who had to endure the abuse of a parent in a time before their younger siblings knew what was happening then you’ve seen them all, but if you have seen at least one movie like this then you already know every beat of Run The Tide. This film does not have an original idea in the entirety of its 100-minute runtime, and to make matters worse it doesn’t even know how to make the most of the tired genre trope that makes up the bulk of its narrative. The story moves with all the excitement of watching paint dry, and though you’re led to believe the situation is weighing heavily on Rey’s shoulders Lautner does not possess the talent required to convey such stress. He seems to believe that staring into the distance solemnly and raising his voice to that awkward place between speaking and screaming is all that dramatic acting entails, but believing something doesn’t make it true.
And don’t get me wrong, there is a lot more at fault for Run The Tide’s mediocrity than Lautner, but his presence in the film is in no way a help. This particular story has been told better by pictures both big and small more times than I can count. Heck, I’ve seen Lifetime Original movies that tackle the themes and ideas of this narrative better in 72 minutes than this film does at feature length. It’s a wash from the opening moments on, and there is nothing anyone on screen can do to save it from inevitably being another undercooked indie title most people never even hear of, let alone see.
But who knows? There is always a chance that the extended Harry Potter universe that was recently launched through Fantastic Beasts will push Summit Entertainment to consider more Twilight films, which in turn would provide Lautner with plenty of work that required very little emoting on his behalf. Should that occur, I still believe this inarguably good-looking fellow my have a place in Hollywood after all. Until then I fear he may just be another pretty face trying in vein to make something from nothing more than good genetics on the silver screen. Run The Tide would be a mediocre film with even the brightest young star at the helm, but with Lautner leading the way it’s outright miserable.
I sincerely hope this film is forgotten just as soon as you leave this page.