Movie ReviewsMan Running – A Needlessly Complicated Slog

Keith NoakesApril 13, 201945/100
Gord Rand, Ivana Shein, Milli Wilkinson
Donna Brunsdale, Gary Burns
Gary Burns
Running Time
90 minutes
Release Date
April 12th, 2019 (Calgary)
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Man Running is a hard to follow slog thanks to its oversubtlety, overuse of imagery, and jumbled structure. Some viewers may have a tough time keeping up but the beautiful Alberta wilderness doesn't completely ruin the race.

If there’s one thing that Man Running does right is that it features a man running though its for a purpose though the film would do a poor job at effectively conveying that purpose. It would be twofold as the story followed a man named Jim (Rand), a doctor who would enter a rough 24 hour marathon as a means to get over an incident at his own medical practice. The main problem with the film was how it failed to connect both of these together in a coherent way which would only make the film hard to follow or invest in on an emotional level.

Over the course of the film, the story would weave back and forth between the present and the events leading up to the aforementioned incident. Before the marathon, Jim was treating a terminally-ill teen named Robyn (Wilkinson) for which he would decide to go against her parents’ wishes and effectively the law at the time and attempt to assist in her death. Ever since, he would find himself reeling from his decision.

During the marathon, Jim would be haunted by his decision, experiencing various delusions and hallucinations but it was unclear whether or not they were due to all the physical exertion from the marathon or if they were manifestations of his guilt and/or shame. The flashbacks would strongly suggest a close relationship between Jim and Robyn though it was never clear why he would go the lengths he did.

Whatever the film was trying to say, it would do so in a way that was far too subtle to decipher. Thus anything that came from this will surely go over the heads of many viewers. As the film went on, it would be hard to care while waiting for it to put everything together for which it would not. This would only make the film be more on the boring side and a chore to watch. With a running time of 90 minutes, at least it is done before you know it and its beautiful cinematography was nice to look at.

The acting was okay, however, it could only go as far as the material and direction could take it. As far as the film was concerned, it was only Rand and Wilkinson for the most part as Jim and Robyn respectively. Rand was good as Jim but he would feel handcuffed by the script and direction as there was clearly more there. Wilkinson as Robyn was fun to watch which was unfortunate since we didn’t get nearly enough of her. Her chemistry with Rand made their few scenes the best part of the film.

At the end of the day, there’s definitely a better film somewhere in here but it would be hampered by needlessly complicated writing and direction instead of a more straightforward story.

*still courtesy of Indiecan Entertainment*

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