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Letting the snake guard the frog pond

I See You (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

ole gloryThe camera lingers on establishing shots of small town Americana. There's a proliferation of American flags, and one Confederate, in a town with enough industry to rate train tracks but enough environ­mentalism to accom­modate parks. Big city lights are far away and the county line close enough to bike to. The crime rate is low, and the citizens let their children play unsupervised on the square. White bread USA at its visually most appealing: no blacks—save for one Oreo kid sand­wiched in—and no crime (not recently any­way.) Until now. The whole close-knit community is shocked when one Justin Whitter (Riley Caya,) age 10, is abducted from an isolated bicycle trail.

His disappearance and an earlier one from in town fit the MO of a convicted pedophile now behind bars and is figured for a copy­cat crime. They assign the case to a black officer Det. Spitzky (Gregory Alan Williams) who had worked the other one long ago. His now retired partner is replaced as lead by White Detective Greg Harper (Jon Tenney) who'd been a lack­luster beat cop back then. There isn't any tension in this arrange­ment as every­one knows his place in this southern coastal town.

looking guiltyThe tension is in Greg Harper's home life. His wife Jackie (Helen Hunt) is a remnant flower child. She drinks tea from a sun­flower cup, pops prescription pills, and practices counseling not wearing any makeup though her looks have long since faded. She was recently exposed for a renewed affair with a guy from her free love days, whence the family tension. Greg feels inadequate as a man figuring Jackie wouldn't have married him if he hadn't knocked her up. Her rich father hated him yet gave them a choice home as a wedding present, which they then filled with kitsch. His professional advancement was from his father-in-law's pull not from his detecting acumen—it's his black partner who picks up on the clues, not he. He's been sleeping on the couch, waking up tired, and acting the stumble­bum around the house. Their disappointed kid Connor (Judah Lewis) has been acting out.


photographerIn line with the title, “I See You,” a peripatetic home­body Mindy (Libe Barer) is making a “documentary” of small town American life, letting her “camera­man” Alec (Owen Teague) pick the latest location (“I know how to pick 'em, eh?”) It turns out to be this nice house with the messed up residents. After having endured the drama so far, we go back over it again, but this time with the added documentary lens. The same story develops unexpected nuances when Alec embellishes it with fake news. Eventually, Greg confronts the camera guy warning him, “You have any idea what's coming for you?” It's pretty much not a good idea to mess around with peoples' lives, especially when one of them is a cop. As wise king Solomon put it, (Prov. 26:17) “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.”

Production Values

” (2019) was directed by Adam Randall. It was written by Devon Graye. It stars Helen Hunt, Jon Tenney, and Judah Lewis. Helen Hunt is fine though her role isn't very expan­sive. Judah Lewis as her son does fine but he's mostly in the back­ground. Jon Tenney as Hunt's detective husband is first rate. Libe Barer hopping in as Mindy in the second half did very well. Gregory Alan Williams as Spitz was careful not to upstage anyone.

MPAA rated it R for violence and language. It was filmed on location in appropriately named Lake­wood, Ohio, USA with some river footage shot in down­town Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The music evoked an unsettling sense of menace, especially when a low bass beat seemed to signal doom. The acting was decent, the photog­raphy well crafted and the story cleverly written. The editing in places could have been better.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

If you're looking for a boilerplate detective mystery where the knowing cop unravels a sticky mystery, you're likely to be disappointed with a drama that seems to go nowhere. If, how­ever, you're into Hitch­cockian suspense that can catch a body off guard, this one will be right up your alley. It had restricted showing in theaters but deserved better.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.