Netflix UK film review: Run (2021)
Ivan Radford | On 03, Apr 2021
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Cast: Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen, Sara Sohn
Where to watch Run online in the UK: Netflix UK
Aneesh Chaganty announced himself as a talent to watch with his directorial debut Searching, an inventive thriller that unfolded within a computer as a father tried to track down his missing daughter using her laptop. Run, his sophomore feature, is a similarly claustrophobic affair, as it tracks the trust and tension between a daughter who is suffering from multiple chronic conditions and the mother who is looking after her.
Sarah Paulson plays Diana, the matriarch with a chilling protective streak. Is she hiding something from Chloe (Kiera Allen) or simply trying to do her best by a daughter that she’s home-schooled for 17 years and give up her life for? There’s only two possible answers to the central mystery, and Chaganty’s script – co-written with Searching co-witer Sev Ohanian’s – doesn’t really manage to stretch that puzzle out across its 90 minutes, but a large part of the film’s success stems from Paulson’s enigmatic, unnerving screen presence. She moves from concerned to controlling in the twitch of an eye, able to play dependent and desperate simultaneously; the film is entertaining just to see how far Paulson will go in her portrayal of a darkly devoted parent.
She’s well matched by Keira Allen – a wheelchair user in a real life – who captures the thrilling hope of escaping her prison-like routine, but also the creeping terror that her regime of treatments and restrictions might not be what it seems. What starts with questions about college applications escalates neatly, with the two co-stars playing against each other with an always intriguing, if not always surprising, dynamic.
Chaganty, meanwhile, keeps things moving at a relentless pace, with an eye for low-key set pieces that have high immediate stakes. His building up of momentum helps to cover up the less logical story leaps and keep you invested. Fittingly, Run is at its best when in motion, and the 90-minute ride moves with a Hitchcockian efficiency.
Run (2021) is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.