Review – Time (and Boat Repair) Heals All Wounds (“Hide Away”)
A young man arrives dockside near an unnamed lake, dressed in a dark suit, and rolling a suitcase behind him. Who is he? We don’t know. Why is he there? He’s there to buy a boat (‘AS-IS’ as the seller reminds him.) What is he going to do with it? He’s going to repair and restore it. Why?
A-ha. There’s the central question of the new film “Hide Away,” now beginning to get a limited release around the country. Josh Lucas plays the unnamed man and, besides the rolling suitcase, he is lugging some serious baggage around with him. We are never fully told of the tragic events that led to his arrival - and that’s just as well – because it’s not about what happened or why. This film is about the process of getting past life’s most difficult moments and moving on.
The Young Mariner (as he’s listed in the credits,) takes on the task of repairing the “Hesperus,” a broken-down hulk desperately in need of work to return it to its former glory. Yes, the symbolism is a bit obvious. Yes, one must suspend one’s disbelief that an individual (who seems to have a high-tech background) would know everything necessary to complete a major overhaul of a sailing vessel (the film does take a shot, somewhat unconvincingly, to explain this away,) but go along with it. There are rewards to be had from this film.
Isolating himself from his past, the Mariner eventually finds some comfort in his interactions with those around him. Ayelet Zurer, Jon Tenney, and the magnificent James Cromwell all do yeoman’s work as denizens of the marina where the boat is docked. Cromwell, as The Ancient Mariner, appreciates the Young Mariner’s situation and speaks to him of his own regret at spending a “year of mooring” (the film’s original title – a better fit, thinks I…)
Please don’t let the subject matter of this film turn you away. It is not a depressing film. It is a quiet, beautifully filmed manifestation of Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief. Often the dialogue is sparse, and one is left to decipher the Mariner’s thoughts. Lucas gives a beautifully nuanced performance in which little is said, but volumes are spoken.
This film is also enhanced considerably by its wonderful cinematography. Who knew that Michigan could look so good? Filmed in and around Traverse City, there are shots in this film that are stunning in their beauty. The Michigan Tourism Board should acquire the print rights to a couple of shots. Hell, it got me thinking about a visit.
Too often small films like this one are lost in the shuffle of big-budget, Hollywood blockbuster summer releases. If you’ve tired of explosions, aliens, and superheroes, and are looking for something with real substance, seek this one out.
"Hide Way" opens its exclusive San Francisco engagement on Friday, June 1st, at the San Francisco Film Society Cinema. Check your local theatre listings for a screening near you.