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Film review: 'Take' is too introspective

Movie by former Utahn debuted at '08 LDS Film Festival

Published: Friday, Sept. 12 2008 12:00 a.m. MDT

Minnie Driver in "Take."

Liberation Entertainment

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TAKE — ** — Minnie Driver, Jeremy Renner; not rated, probable PG-13 (violence, brief gore, slurs, brief drugs)

"Take" comes from a former Utahn, screenwriter/director Charles Oliver, and it was produced on a shoestring budget. But it has the look and feel of something that was produced for a national film festival.

In fact, while the movie debuted at the 2008 LDS Film Festival, it is much more reminiscent of something you'd see at the more prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

That's not meant as a compliment, though, since "Take" may be too much like a Sundance movie for its own good. This sullen dramatic thriller is introspective to the point of being navel-gazing. And its up-to-interpretation form of "conclusion" is fairly pretentious.

(By the way, the movie is being released in different forms simultaneously. An R-rated cut of the film will be showing in a Park City location; Salt Lake-area theaters will be showing a PG-13 rated one.)

"Take" looks at two very different people whose paths eventually cross. Saul (Jeremy Renner) is a heavily-in-debt gambling addict who's desperate for money.

Attempts to pay off his debts haven't gone as planned. Saul was recently beaten up while trying to repossess a vehicle. Now he's planning to rob a grocery store drug counter.

One of the horrified bystanders is Ana (Minnie Driver). She's trying to cope with her own set of challenges, which includes being the parent of a behaviorally disabled child (Bobby Coleman).

It should be noted that first-time filmmaker Oliver is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But there is no LDS content, either specific or implied.

There is a certain spiritual component to this material, however. Oliver tries to delve into issues of forgiveness and repentance, though they're handled pretty clumsily. And again, the nebulous ending is a real cop-out

But you can't fault the cast. The performance of Renner (from "28 Weeks Later") brings needed shadings to his shallowly written character. And Driver is very sympathetic.

"Take" is rated PG-13 for strong, at-times disturbing violent content (shootings, a beating, vehicular mayhem and child-in-peril elements), some brief gore and blood, some derogatory slurs and language (referring to disabilities), and brief drug references (pharmaceuticals). Running time: 98 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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