The Tall Man: a typical case of the movie that didn’t gain any excellent reviews. And the likelihood is that most of you, based on its moderate rating, will simply choose not to watch it. And that’s the tricky thing – It can’t be considered a must-see movie, or something that can’t be missed. But it does ask a question that you can’t easily ignore.
The plot is quite simple and straightforward. It also consists of an intriguing twist which more or less determines the worth of the film. In a small town known as Cold Rock, somewhere in the state of Washington, kids are being abducted. Boys and girls, mainly little ones, are being kidnapped. There is no request of ransom, no signs, no evidence; it’s like they simply disappeared. No one can find them and no one knows what happens. As the number of abducted kids augments, the society tries to find answers — some of them claim that they have seen a tall man dressed in black, taking the kids and disappearing into the woods. Although most put this down as an urban legend, time is ticking and an answer becomes more and more urgent.
Julia Denning, played by Jessica Biel, is the town’s nurse. Really, she is more like a general practitioner, handling as many cases as she can in order to help the town. A role that her husband used to hold who — besides being a very good doctor — was a very active member of the town’s society. Julia seems to be sceptical regarding the rumours of the tall man and detached from the others’ fears. But everything changes when her own child is taken and her family is at stake.
I really liked how the film takes place in a small town somewhere in the mainland of the United States. We often see the beautiful scenery that America has to offer, the big cities and the “American Dream”, but what about the rest? How is it to live in a deprived area, in a small town in the middle of nowhere with an average salary? I was intrigued to be able to experience this part of America, somewhere that rarely gets the attention of filmmakers. I was also shaken by the moral and practical question that is posed at the end of the film. A psychological question that still lacks an unambiguous answer.
The Tall Man is directed and written by Pascal Laugier, also known for Martyrs, and there is no doubt that it follows the guidelines of a horror movie. Darkness and mystery rein throughout the film, with Jessica Biel incarnating her role very realistically. I can’t urge you to watch this film for yourself, but I can tell you that it will, somehow, take hold of you and carry you in. It’s fast and bizarre, while forcing the viewer to share the agony of its characters. Maybe best defined as a mediocre film with a few surprises.