Our main character in Maysville is held back by an incident that is so horrible that it’s hard to understand how a movie can actually take off after such a thing. As a filmmaker, you have a challenge where you have to pursue a dramatic turning point that can release a character with such a heavy burden. Leslie Goyette achieves this goal with an ease not so frequent in today’s cinema. It is not the case that one easily forgets the events of the past. It’s just that sometimes it’s not so pretty to go forward.
At least that’s what we get from Teddy Rogers, a boy who lost his best friend Willy in an accident that could have been prevented. Distressed by guilt, Teddy absorbs control from himself and also from everyone around him. Willy’s father, a violent monster, kidnaps Teddy and takes him away. His mother desperately tries to prevent this, but Teddy’s hospitalization is hard to overcome.
The years go by and Teddy is still in the grip of a violent relationship. Hard work and violence are a part of his everyday life until he decides that enough is enough. He flees to the city of Maysville, where he finds love and an honest job. Nevertheless, inner demons are hard to let go of. Teddy’s burden is not gone, and when people from his past show up, he decides to face them once and for all.
This growing film is filled with emotional ups and downs and melodramatic intersections. It’s exactly the kind of movie this time around. However, Maysville also plays in another area, one that is as risky as it is dissonant with the genre. Or so it seems. Goyette is crucial with her approach to making Maysville a slow-paced thriller that is never excessive in using the patterns of that genre. It’s just that Teddy’s character demands this, and the director trusts himself enough to orient the film towards something more exciting than you would expect.
It would not work without the very good performance. From Forrest CampbelI like Willy to Brian Sutherland as Buck, Willy’s father. They are surprisingly accurate in performances that are not very reminiscent of indie cinema. You have a good instructor to thank for this. But that is it in the end Kevin Mayr‘s ability to shine. The young actor absorbs his role in an organic, almost too sincere way. As the film enters its third act and his character demands a change in his theme, Mayr dominates every scene he is in.
Maysville starts as an innocent story and even transforms the tables into something darker and gloomier. But Goyette grasps the story, insisting that the protagonist finds justice when necessary. At least she does not exaggerate with the drama and so Maysville stray away from a boring formula center. She actually lets go and breaks expectations. When the third act arrives and the film delivers its final twist, you will see what I mean.
Set in Appalachia, Maysville is an honest rendition of a story with moral disturbances that stays away from the complexity of the character. It’s pretty simple if you think about it. It’s a story about growing up in the midst of tribulation and tragedy. But it is also a compelling film about being able to forgive what seems unforgivable.
Maysville makes you feel things like movies from back then did. I’m not aware of Goyette’s intent on the script, but if this is what she’s aiming for, then she’s a winner and I’ll already see what she does next.