ANGELS CREST is not a perfect movie: there are so many undeveloped sidebars that keeping everyone in a place where they seem to fit into the tale is difficult. But there are some powerful performances here and some cause for reflection that makes the movie very worthwhile watching. Based on the novel by the same name written by Leslie Schwartz, adapted for the screen by Catherine Trieschmann, and directed by Gaby Dellal, the story deals with numerous interactions of a small town populated with alcoholics, drug abusers, adulterers, and other strange types and how they deal with a tragedy that makes no sense.
Nate Denton (Ameko Eks Mass Carroll) is a 3 year old son of Ethan Denton (Thomas Dekkar in a breakout performance that deserves attention) who awakens one morning in his pathetic home to tell his beloved single dad that it is snowing. The father/son bond is strong and Ethan dresses them both to go out to view the beauty of the snowy countryside in their old truck. When they arrive at a perfect spot, Ethan turns to the backseat to take Nate out to make snowmen, but Nate has fallen asleep in this safety car seat. Ethan makes the truck warm, locks the truck and walks out to view the spectacle of winter, the deer, and the eloquent mountains. In a few minutes he returns - and Nate is gone! Ethan is terrified, begins shouting his son's name as he searches for him. The town is alerted and a search party begins. Nate's mother alcoholic mother Cindy (Lynn Collins) is notified of Nate's missing and begins her tirade on every person she meets. After an overnight search for Nate, Ethan discovers Nate's frozen body and is devastated. Ethan is taken into custody for a death stemming from negligence and the townspeople form sides as to Ethan's guilt. Among them is a waitress Angie (Mira Sorvino) and her small daughter Rosie (Emma Macgillivray), Ethan's friend Rusty (Joseph Morgan), a lesbian couple (Elizabeth McGovern and Kate Walsh), Cindy's preachy mother (Barbara Williams). and the local police. The town brings in the District Attorney (Jeremy Piven) who obviously has secrets of his won that mirror Ethan's crisis. The story is resolved in a strange and tragic manner, leaving many crises unsolved.
Thomas Dekkar gives such a fine performance that we are able to see inside his heart and head and soul. The supporting cast conveys the small town response to a tragedy among their own - who is guilty of what and how could the incident have ever occurred. There are many ideas created by the writers and the characters that are never realized fully, but the sense of human response to an accident is staggeringly real. There is much more to this film in retrospect, after watching it, that haunts the viewer. Grady Harp, December 11