Sometimes it’s the music. When in John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, the computer screen decodes that that the plane “David 14” is actually “Air Force One”, and it’s going to crash in Manhattan, Carpenter’s synth score starts right when “Air Force One” is revealed. It gets us right into the movie. Sometime’s it’s the cinematography or a Steadicam shot. What gets us invested in a movie or tv show can be many things. Of course, strong acting is at the top of the list.
Andrew Scott plays Donnie in the newly released A Dark Place. Donnie is a million miles away from his portrayal of Moriarty in Sherlock, but equally as effective. Donnie plays a garbage truck driver in a small western Pennsylvania town who is somewhere on the spectrum. Something has changed in his weekly routine - a young boy who always waves to him from his bedroom is not there. The boy has gone missing. Donnie immediately becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. That’s it - that’s the story. No twists and turns, really. No crazy action set pieces. Just his obsession. And we become invested in that. And that’s because Scott plays Donnie perfectly.
He’s not over the top crazy and he’s not somnolent. It’s a very interesting performance because it does feel genuine. Since everyone in town knows Donnie, they treat him a certain way. Donnie uses that to his advantage - and it helps him solve the mystery.
Slow down and get into the pace of the film. There are rewards here. Andrew Scott is someone I’ll search out for from now on. -Mark