The Desperate Hour

Watch The Desperate Hour

"Time is running out."
  • PG-13
  • 2021
  • 1 hr 20 min
  • 4.9  (7,345)
  • 35

The Desperate Hour is a heart-thumping thriller that harnesses the suspense of real-time storytelling to transport viewers into a gripping situation beyond their wildest imaginations. Released in 2021, this gripping film stars the illustrious Naomi Watts, along with up-and-coming talents Colton Gobbo and Andrew Chown under the deft directorial hand of Phillip Noyce.

Set in the tranquil backdrop of rural small-town America, the unfolding narrative follows Amy Carr, brilliantly portrayed by Watts, as a recently widowed mother of two. Keeping with the film's emphasis on real-time storytelling, The Desperate Hour begins calmly, masterfully building suspense as it scrutinizes the otherwise mundane day-to-day activities of its central character. As Amy sends her children off to school before embarking on a solo run through the forest, she's drawn into a high-stakes thriller that unfolds over 90-odd minutes, mirroring the 'real-time' storytelling technique.

Amy's run through the serene forest setting quickly spirals into a desperate fight for survival when she receives a terrifying call from her son as an active shooter situation unfolds in his school. As the only prominent character physically present in most scenes, Watts conveys the entire spectrum of dread, disbelief, and sheer panic experienced by a mother far from her children's conflict.

Colton Gobbo and Andrew Chown, despite their limited screen time, deliver equally captivating performances. As a helpless, profoundly terrified son, Gobbo taps into raw, visceral emotions, while Chown, in a role that exposes him to the brazen and terrifying realities of the situation, successfully delivers a performance that is both powerful and stirring.

The Desperate Hour's story is breathtaking in its simplicity; the movie does not rely on intricate plot threads, nor does it emphasize extensive character development. Here, the movie's strength lies in its use of real-time storytelling and emotional authenticity. It takes a familiar narrative – a shooting – and places it in an atypical setting, using this contrast to eke out monstrous amounts of suspense and shock.

Phillip Noyce’s brilliant direction is seen in the stifling atmosphere of tension he creates. Every second of screen time carries a significant weight, reflecting the urgency of the situation. Noyce's keen sense of pacing and carefully calibrated tension keeps viewers on edge throughout the runtime.

The Desperate Hour smartly incorporates current anxieties about public safety incidents, grounding the narrative within society's collective consciousness. Yet it’s not all doom and gloom. At the heart of the film is a powerful story of resilience and the indomitable spirit of a mother determined to protect her children.

Helpless and panicked, Amy finds herself propelled into a dangerous situation where she must become her children's remote guardian. In what will undoubtedly go down as one of her most gripping and engaging performances, Watts portrays Amy’s journey from terrified observer to resourceful savior with a charged intensity that keeps your heart pounding from start to finish.

The movie's narrative is further enriched by the masterful cinematography from cinematographer John Brawley. The lush, pastoral beauty of the American heartland arcs into a chillingly eerie wilderness when viewed through the lens of the unfolding danger. Simultaneously, it also underscores the character’s isolation from the danger threatening her children – a physical disconnect that becomes blisteringly palpable with each passing minute.

The Desperate Hour represents contemporary cinema's power to tap into shared societal fears while delivering a gripping and emotionally immediate narrative. The film highlights a mother’s determination to protect her children, against all odds and distance, and keeps audiences on the edge even as it strikes a nerve with its harrowing subject matter.

In conclusion, The Desperate Hour is much more than a suspense thriller. It’s a movie that provokes thought about our reality and at the same time tells an human story of resilience. Unflinchingly emotional and distressingly timely, it’s an alarming testament captured in real-time. With unbeatable performances from its small, but powerful cast, this is one movie that is sure to linger long after the end credits have rolled.

The Desperate Hour is a 2021 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.9 and a MetaScore of 35.

The Desperate Hour
Where to Watch The Desperate Hour
The Desperate Hour is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Desperate Hour for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 20 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.9  (7,345)
  • Metascore