Angels Crest doesn’t have a single moment of feeling that punctures the “well-made” production, but what it lacks in palpable pain, it makes up for in gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts. In a small, snow-blown town somewhere in the mountainous West, young father Ethan (Thomas Dekker) leaves his 3-year old son in his pickup to track a deer—and comes back to find the boy missing. Angels Crest deals in the aftermath, as Ethan must contend with his own guilt, the boy’s drunken, slatternly mother, Cindy (Lynn Collins), and the vindictive D.A. (Jeremy Piven) whose zeal to damn Ethan for negligence is driven by his own grief over a lost child. Luxuriantly-lashed Dekker leads the most attractive cast of small-towners this side of Twin Peaks but, though the setting is nearly as artificial as Lynch’s, the melodrama is played quite straightforwardly here, even as the dialogue frequently borders on parody. (Cindy to her religious mother, while hoisting a beer: “You have your God, I have mine.”) Alongside Dekker’s grueling histrionics, the film views the case as it affects the mothers of the town, including Mira Sorvino as a diner hostess and Elizabeth McGovern and Kate Walsh as a lesbian couple. Parental sorrow is a fine big theme; all that’s missing here is the detail-work to humanize it.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 28, 2011