Delia's Gone
Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Delia’s Gone is a mystery not worth solving

Canadian filmmaker Robert Budreau directs fellow Canuck Stephen James in his latest film, the thriller Delia’s Gone from Vertical Entertainment. Delia’s Gone follows Louis (Stephen James), who has an intellectual disability and lives with his older sister Delia (Genelle Williams) amidst her struggles with addiction following their father’s death. After a night of drinking, Delia’s truck is found abandoned at a bar, drawing suspicion from the local sheriff Fran (Marisa Tomei), who soon discovers she’s been killed. All evidence points to Louis, who, pressured by police, pleads guilty and is sentenced to five years in prison for his sister’s murder.

Upon release, Louis is confined to a home care facility where he is visited by Stacker (Travis Fimmel), one of the last men to see Delia alive, who implies that there is more to her death than meets the eye. Armed with this new information, Louis escapes the facility on a personal mission to find who is responsible for Delia’s mysterious death.

Robert Burdeau’s screenplay for the film is an adaptation of the short story “Caged Bird Sing.” I primarily checked this one out because I’m a lead actor Stephan James fan. Since his day as Julian on Degrassi: The Next Generation, I’ve always liked what James brings to the table. Regretfully though, while James does what he can with the material, the actor deserves better.

Surprisingly no one has taken issue with James “cripping up” for the role. There was never a moment that I didn’t take James seriously as he appears to bring investment in the character. However, I think the biggest issue in the film was the off putting pace. The usually reliable Paul Walter Hauser and Marissa Tomi turn in performances that could be summed up as paycheck work. While Travis Fimmel wants to come off as some brooding trying to do right dad, one can’t help but laugh.

Making matters worse is some of the characters that Louis comes into contact with, including a woman with a fondness for chicken wings and a low-rent church pastor. Honestly, I checked out about forty-five minutes into the film and just waited for the reveal of the killer whose identity I guessed in the first act.

Delia’s Gone does not seem to have any sense of cohesiveness. An ambiguous cast of characters trying to keep up with an honest portrayal of mental illness weakens the film. Unraveling the mystery and connecting the dots doesn’t work. The eighty-five-minute quest to reach a conclusion worthwhile discussion never occurs, so I don’t recommend the film.

Final Grade: D+

DELIA’S GONE is available on demand Friday, September 9th

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