Taylor Lautner is all grown up—at least he’s trying to be in Run the Tide. Lautner plays Rey, a young man who is a guardian to his little brother and sets out to the west coast to seek a better life for them. At the center of the story is this young guy struggling to be an adult and make a life for himself, but he’s fully committed to raising his younger brother Oliver (Nicos Christou).
The problem with the movie is that there isn’t enough going on to keep it engaging. The only outside factors in play is the mother that’s getting out of jail and wants to reconnect and the old high school flame that comes back to town and mesmerizes Rey. It’s fairly ambiguous what the mother did to go warrant going to join or what was the fallout between her and the boys, but she’s the motivating factor in Rey’s desire to move away. As far as the love interest Michelle (Johanna Braddy), she is set up as a vital character in the story, but she’s swiftly set aside and doesn’t contribute to furthering the plot. The brief romance between Rey and Michelle is incredibly forced. Nothing about it feels realistic, they have sex immediately and end up spending the night sleeping on top of a roof.
This movie had a hard time convincing me to feel any emotion or connection to the characters. The story is set up to try to make you believe in the reality of the situation and the bond between the brothers, but I just didn’t care for it. They have some moments that seem genuine. One of them being when they are playing baseball and Rey is trying to teach Oliver how to stand in the batters box and take an inside pitch. There is that older brother showing some tough love, both are swearing back and forth at each other, yet it seems like something brothers would do. For a ten-year-old, Oliver sure does swear a lot in the movie. The genuine interaction doesn’t last or stay consistent throughout.
My biggest issue with the movie is that the emotion felt forced and it lacked authenticity. There is just a severe lack of real moments, especially for a story based on emotion. Forceful overdramatizing never helps any plot move forward. The next biggest issue this movie faced was the atrocious background music and soundtrack. Every emotional moment is pandered by a out of place dramatic sounding country tune. The music is just bad on every level and the worst of it being that it’s forced in during the scenes where they want you feel for the characters.
As far as Lautner goes, I appreciate his attempt to try to step out of his norm and take on a dramatic role. He just doesn’t fit it. The writing is in part to blame, but he just isn’t very believable, as much as he tries to be. The filmmakers did everything possible to try to deviate him from his pretty boy looks. He has beard, wears flannel and a baseball cap, a far removal from his regular film appearance. It just doesn’t work and hard to convince that he’s suddenly this dramatic actor when his entire career was build on a major franchise film and some side action movies.
Run the Tide is best as a Lifetime movie special of the week. One that falls emotionally flat. The production values are more fitting for television than film. The presentation is lacking in the performances and writing. I found myself bored instead of being compelled. The stakes aren’t high enough, heck, they aren’t really even present. The film was saved from being a disaster by the final two scenes, which finally bring to life the heart and authenticity that was desired from the start. A bit too little too late though, it’s like a football game where the team is getting shut out for three-and-a-half quarters, only to score a touchdown in the remaining minutes when the other team checked-out. It’s not as bad in the final box score, but for those who watched for 100 minutes know the real story. Should have scored earlier with some real emotion and stakes, because too little too late doesn’t mean much. Ultimately I’d run away from this oncoming tide.
Run the Tide is out now in select theaters, Digital HD and On Demand