The Apology mostly consists of scenes between two characters in a house on a stormy winter night shortly before Christmas. The feeling of nowhere to go even if you could adds to the parnoia. But this movie is a little different.
Darlene Hagen (Anna Gunn) is a middle-aged divorcee and recovering alcoholic who has a great friend, Gretchen Sullivan (Janeane Garofalo), as a neighbor who lives far away to see things and hear loud noises from the house but not right next door. They’re in a very rural area as Gretchen bids her friend good night and rushes back home through the blustering snow.
Then, as Darlene is in bed later, she hears a knocking at the door. She gets up and checks it out and lo and behold, it’s Jack Kingsley (Linus Roache), her ex-brother-in-law. Jack tells her he was on his way back for the holidays and ran into car trouble. It’s been almost two decades since the two have seen or spoken to each other, but Darlene still welcomes him in to warm up. But it becomes very quick that Jack has an ulterior motive for coming there.
Years earlier, Darlene’s daughter, Sally (Holland Bailey) went missing one day. It tore her marriage apart as well as Jack’s and she turned to drinking to cope. Almost immediately, Jack seems to give subtle hints that he wants something more out of Darlene and even goes as far as kissing her much to her surprise. But, yet, there’s also something else Jack has been wanting to do.
You probably don’t need any spoilers to see where this movie is headed. The title alone should be a giveaway. Darlene suspects that Jack knows more about what happened to Sally and there’s a back and forth as they go through the night. Whenever has someone shown up claiming of car trouble in a movie like this where there was actual car trouble. This is really a spotlight for Gunn and Roache.
It’s the first feature movie for director Alison Locke, who also co-wrote the script, after making a few shorts. But yet, I feel this might have worked better as a short itself. But Gunn, who appeared as Skyler White on the hit TV series Breaking Bad, does a nice job as a woman who is trying to rebuild her life but still has the pain of her past. Her interactions with Jack earlier on paint a portrait of a family that was very open and loving before the bad things pushed everyone apart.
Roache doesn’t play Jack as a monster, but more of a man who made a mistake when his niece began to get older that he’s been living with for two decades. I get the sense that he may have been secretly in love with Darlene at one point and might still be. But in a twist at the end, we see what Jack really wants is for Darlene to take out her revenge on him. This is where Gretchen comes in as a voice of reason.
It’s not a bad movie, but I feel Locke could’ve tweaked the movie here and there. This is the problem with having to make movies a full 90 minutes long. It could’ve been better at just 75 minutes.
What do you think? Please comment.