The premise of a US high school shooting is often canon fodder for an all-out action movie, but Kyle Rankin’s Run, Hide, Fight is far more than that. Like its main character it should not be overlooked or underestimated. At the helm on writing and directing duties, Rankin has made a film that is sharp, layered and full of suspense.
Showing as part of Glasgow Film Festival’s renowned FrightFest the film centres around teenager Zoe (Isabel May), who we meet in a hunting scene with her father that ends on a philosophical note about mercy. From the get-go you instantly get a sense of underlying trauma in that family dynamic and that typical teenage angst is far from its root.
There is a lure to May’s screen presence well before the events at the high school, a quality that is gripping and maintained throughout the course of the film. The emotional depth is woven throughout with the past trauma we learn that continues to plague our main character, Zoe. It is an overall great performance that really does elevate the film. Run, Hide, Fight dabbles in some of the tropes of films with a high-school setting but quickly moves on and wastes no time in turning everything up to eleven. You get shades of Die Hard in how the story plays out and even the portrayal of local law enforcement but suffice to say there is no sharply dressed Hans Gruber. Think of Zoe as less John McClane and more the complexities of Carol Peletier from The Walking Dead.
Given how prevalent these type of incidents in the U.S have become in recent times, Rankin tackles it well and explores a range of themes in its underlying commentary on social media and society as a whole.
Through the film’s antagonist, Tristan (Eli Brown), we get a sequence where there is a live-feed on social media of the events and with it jabs at news networks. Not to mention the social media platforms themselves.
Brown gives a cool yet creepy performance and avoids being completely over the top. His quip that getting the guns was the easiest part of his plan is an uncomfortable reminder of this never-ending issue in the U.S. It feels deliberate that the social commentary is far from subtle and blatant throughout.
Care is also taken in creating the film’s suspense and then building on it in a way that is gradual and measured. Its moments of action are perfectly timed. The pacing is on point which is particularly important for a film that is nearly two hours long.
And the moments of action we do see do not overshadow its characters nor are they shoehorned in simply for the sake of it. While avoiding indulgences such as this there is, however, a scene of nudity that feels completely unnecessary that if taken out would have very little impact, if any, to the film.
Run, Hide, Fight is a contained and sharp action-thriller that is oozing with ideas and commentary on society makes it altogether an enjoyable watch with Isabel May making up for the film’s shortcomings.