Family can be unpredictable, no matter how well you think you know those people you’re supposed to love unconditionally. But the more estranged you are, the more likely you are to stumble on to a significant surprise. This is especially true if your family resembles the oddity that we see take shape in director Ant Timpson’s dark comedy thriller Come To Daddy.
What begins as an uneasy reunion that has Norval (Elijah Wood) meeting his long estranged father Gordon (Stephen McHattie) turns into a night from hell as the son is pushed to the edge by his own blood relative. As the night progresses, twists and turns crop up that cause the timid Norval to become a bit of a psychopath, much like his dear old dad.
You don’t know where Come To Daddy is going, and that’s probably for the best.
It should be considered a crime to spoil where exactly Come To Daddy goes with its story past the initial premise, as the twists and turns the story writer Toby Harvard has in store for poor Norval are actually pretty well hidden. Going into this comical misadventure cold is a prerequisite for maximum enjoyment.
With a short and breezy running time that clocks in just a little over an hour-and-a-half, Come To Daddy covers a lot of ground with its nasty funhouse romp, so every little detail counts towards the big picture. Some credit should be given to the marketing department that was tasked with selling the film, as they did a good job of selling the whole package with a vague enough pitch that doesn’t give the store away.
Elijah Wood rides the line between sensitivity and brutality rather nicely.
Something that the trailer for Come To Daddy does manage to sell rather nicely is the central performance by Elijah Wood as the film’s protagonist. As the audience’s surrogate, Norval learns the truth behind his father’s mysterious invitation in time with the audience. It’s a situation that, with the wrong character, falls apart rather quickly.
This is another reason why Wood’s performance in Come To Daddy is important, because we see his main character evolve and adapt to the circumstances around him, slowly morphing him from a very sensitive man into someone with a rougher disposition. The change never feels forced or unbelievable, and Elijah Wood encompasses the kindness and killer instinct that Norval possesses throughout this picture’s lightning fast story.
Come To Daddy is a little slight in its execution, but it’s confident enough to be a good time.
Being as quickly paced as Come To Daddy is, it suffers from the story being a bit slight. To a certain extent, the twists take the audience by surprise because of the fact that there’s not a lot of background setting those facts up ahead of time.
It could be interpreted that without those details being omitted, Come To Daddy’s story wouldn’t be as quick or as sharp as it eventually turned out to be. The absence of backstory doesn’t kill the experience that Ant Timpson and Toby Harvard are trying to give the audience, but at the same time it does make the finished product feel like a fun ride rather than a hard-hitting thriller.
Ultimately, that’s the choice you have to make with this film, as anyone who wants something with more narrative meat on the bones needs to make other arrangements. Should you be ready for a quick and twisty thriller that isn’t afraid to make you laugh with an occasional moment of gross content and bodily harm, then Come To Daddy.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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