The Things We’ve Seen

The Boem family lives in a small rural town, and after the mill burns down, there are no jobs for the town’s able-bodied workers. A group of malcontents has set fire to the wooden structure out of spite. Law enforcement steps in and takes on a band of renegades in a standoff with the local sheriff, who has a longstanding grudge with the head of the Boem clan.

As the story unfolds, we learn a lot more about the family, and the troublesome Rayford, who can’t seem to stay put as head of the family. He’s abandoned them but flees the scene of the standoff with a wounded man in tow. They hole up at his family’s home as the law begins to close in on them. The question is, will the family accept his intrusion, and can they learn to forgive him for his desertion.

 

“…takes on a band of renegades in a standoff with the local sheriff…”

The problem is this story of family strife doesn’t have enough story to it, and it meanders along toward a conclusion without many surprises. From the start, we can predict that the absentee dad and his son are going to bond and that the deserted mom will continue to simmer when dad, now a runaway from the law, comes back home to hide out from the sheriff.

Reaching back to the 1980s, you might want to see At Close Range, a film that covers similar ground to that of The Things We’ve Seen, only it does it with greater subtlety and much more economical use of dialogue. Instead of trotting out the cliched pot-bellied white trash sheriff and other similar tropes, At Close Range conveys the same information in more surprising ways. The Things We’ve Seen could have used a lighter touch, better dialog editing and a more creative approach to constructing its scenes. As it is, we’ve seen it all before, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of improvements.

 

The Things We’ve Seen (2018) Directed by Tre Manchester. Written by Tre Manchester. Starring Randy Ryan, Jarrett Maier, Shani Salyers Stiles, Noah McCarty-Slaughter, John D. Carver.

3 out of 10 International Harvesters

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