‘Devil’s Peak’ Review
“The devil’s got you.”
“Shit, the devil’s been sucking my dick since I was 12.”
And with that, I was all in for Devil’s Peak.
Make room for a new rising star, Hopper Wright (son of Robin Wright and Sean Penn)! This fresh face in such a broken and painful role is outstanding.
Jacob McNeely (Penn) is a young man living in Jackson County, NC who grew up in the crystal meth trade led by father, Charlie McNeely (Billy Bob Thornton.) As the patriarch of this small, organized crime endeavor, McNeely is one ruthless and terrifying thug whose trigger-happy ways are comparable to clearing one’s throat or drinking a glass of water. Think nothing of it, as long as the family is protected. And by family, we have Charlie’s sexpot girlfriend, Jacob’s ex-con junkie mother (Robin Wright), and a few locals who continue to prove loyalty to the McNeely family, but fail miserably.
Immediately, the despair and hopelessness portrayed by Jacob are palpable as he takes us through his crushing life as a nowhere-bound youth. His only solace is his girlfriend and newly paroled mother with whom he tries to express his heartfelt emotion and tears. Unsure of where to turn, Jacob is a lost soul at the beck and call of Charlie, whose mere presence (and skinhead appearance) instill instant fear…to his seedy satisfaction. I mean, let’s face it—Billy Bob Thornton is so good at being bad.
Devil’s Peak is reminiscent of At Close Range, watching Sean Penn’s son in a similar role, trying to please and appease dear old dad. The range of distraught family life squeezes your heart as you want to save Jacob from this dreary world he comes from. Make no bones about it, this is not a warm and fuzzy family trip to the south. It is gritty, unremorseful, and yet quite moving as director Ben Young brings out the heart-wrenching spirit of young Jacob, who just wants out.
Through the turmoil of this unfortunate father-and-son relationship, the powerful journey that opens Jacob’s eyes to a McNeely demise, results in an awful bloodbath of disturbing retribution and greed.
Once again, Ben Young draws out a beautiful yet melancholic atmosphere from an impossible situation of being trapped in a slipping-down life to nowhere. With impressive performances from the entire cast (another incredible Jackie Earle Haley character!), Devil’s Peak will pull you into an emotionally charged trip toward Jacob’s ultimate salvation and peace of mind.
Once again, Ben Young draws out a beautiful yet melancholic atmosphere from an impossible situation of being trapped in a slipping down life to nowhere.