Take sketchily crisscrosses narrative strands involving a man on death row and the working-class mother whose life he has ravaged. Taking outlandish delight in the nature of the focal crime, director Charles Oliver follows Ana (Minnie Driver) as she drives to the prison facility where Saul (Jeremy Renner) will receive a lethal injection. When he can no longer disguise from the audience that Ana's little boy is a goner, now only a projection of the woman's mirror-infused reality, Oliver gets his sick rocks off by teasing the audience with how the special-ed-bound Jesse (Bobby Coleman) bit the bullet on the fateful day he and Mommy were inside a supermarket when Saul pulled a gun on the store's customers. Tricked out with bizarre fuzzy-wuzzy point-of-view shots, a tinkly soundtrack, overly considered compositions that foreground oddball acts of human behavior, and screechy literalizations of psychological trauma and healing (behold as Ana leaves her baggage behind in the final shot), Take has the audacity to excuse its bad cinematic habits as figments of both Saul and Ana's imaginations. Oliver wants to defend restorative justice, but his interest in this form of victim-offender mediation registers only as an afterthought—unelaborated and presented solely as a means of dodging criticism.
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.