It begins as one of those films that you think you know all about. However, The Tall Man is a fickle film with a narrative that spins in several different directions and ends in morally questionable territory.
The film takes place in a small and isolated ex-mining town in Washington that has had its fair share of bad luck since the local doctor passed away. Though the townspeople have been plagued by poverty, only one thing seems to be running through everyone’s minds – “The Tall Man.”
Julia Denning (Jessica Biel) is a widower and the town’s local nurse. When her son goes missing, like all of the other children in town, she embarks on a mission to unravel the legend behind a mysterious entity who purportedly abducts children.
The Tall Man wants the viewer to think that it’s a horror film, but it’s actually a drama.
At first, Denning is depicted as a saint. Besides being philanthropic, she seems skeptical about the town’s tantalizing fear towards the inexplicable child abductor. The majority of the townspeople live in ruins, but our protagonist lives in a large and nicely decorated two-story home. After work, Julia has dinner with her son, David (Jakob Davies) and his nanny.
Later that evening, Denning wakes up to the blaring sound of the kitchen radio, and she quickly realizes that her son has been kidnapped. After a gruesome and challenging chase, she’s is left for dead with no hope of finding her son.
The identity of eponymous Tall Man is the source of film’s primary conflict. Julia and the viewer slowly discover the mystery behind the missing children’s whereabouts and villainous Tall Man’s true identity. Both are forced to question how they’d react to adolescent poverty, and whether criminal action is ever justified when it concerns the well being of a child.
The film has a few plot holes, some mediocre action scenes, and Jessica Biel’s performance as Julia Denning was run of the mill. Furthermore, some plausibility issues made the film’s conflict unrealistic.
The Tall Man will not resonate with everyone and many people will not understand Writer and Director Pascal Laugier’s overall premise for the film.
Nevertheless, this psychodrama is original, and it is as unpredictable as viewers’ opinions regarding its integrity in the cinematic realm.