Most movies build towards a crescendo, yet the first act of Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy is the climax. But then, instead of gradually hitting new heights, Timpson’s film simmers to a tepid temperature. Despite the outrageous feedback you may have heard about the movie’s wild qualities, Come to Daddy is actually family tame (if you’re used to off-the-wall genre pieces).
Come to Daddy is still a solid flick though, and impressive in unpredictable ways. With his first foray into directing a feature-length film, Timpson shows he has the ability to make audiences appropriately laugh and squirm with material that isn’t usually associated with those reactions. In this case, a mutual meet-up between an estranged father and his recovering alcoholic son that goes south when dad’s distain towards his boy becomes very transparent. But, the filmmaker is also assisted by great performances from Stephen McHattie (as the salty codger) and Elijah Wood (as the cautious son).
Come to Daddy relies on secrets and surprises, which I won’t give away in this review. However, I can hint at the removal of a character, and how the film switches gears because of this decision. It’s a story choice that’s disappointing at first, but screenwriter Toby Harvard (The Greasy Strangler) compensates by adding more interesting roles that range from ruthless criminals to a tender forgiver.
Going forward, Come to Daddy feels less peculiar as characters are given more screen time to represent their motivations. This allows Come to Daddy to double down on consistency, but it also tidies up a memorably strange film. Movie goers are still compelled to see our protagonists prevail and watch the villains receive their comeuppance but, surely, there must’ve been a way to finish this story without having Timpson surrender so much personality.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie