“Delia’s Gone” is writer/director Robert Budreau’s fourth feature film after two films (“Stockholm” and “Born to be Blue”) featuring Ethan Hawke with varying degrees of success. He was able to prove he is competent and an up-and-coming director to keep an eye on, but his newest venture is missing what seems to be the secret ingredient, Ethen Hawke.
Not without its own talent, this one stars Stephen James (If Beale Street Could Talk”) with Marisa Tomei, Travis Fimmel, and the always wonderful Paul Walter Hauser in supporting roles. The main plot of the story is that Louis, played by James, is a person with disabilities from an accident when he was younger that affects his speech and judgment, his caretaker and sister Delia (Genelle Williams) is killed and he is blamed. There is always a risk factor in an actor taking on a role as a person with disabilities, you want to do justice, but also need to avoid any problematic choices. To compound this even further, the race issues are oversimplifications of events that feel forced, with the added portrayal of disabilities, it just feels kind of wrong more often than not.
The story of revenge gets dark, but not dark enough. There are some major themes of racial injustice, and ableism, even Tomei’s character is preaching about gender inequality, but this story does not serve any of them well.
There is a story here worth telling, the themes are ripe with content worth digging into and exploring in a meaningful way, unfortunately, the fruit is always low-hanging and surface level.
2 out of 5