A young teen named Hazel (Bella Thorne) suffers from a severe case of Agoraphobia and OCD. Her mother Dee (Kyra Sedgwick) decides it’s time for Hazel to finally get help. Dee sets up a transport vehicle for Hazel as well as three other troubled youths, Hazel residing in a metal box in the back of the van. On the trip the van becomes ambushed and shot up by two gunman (Frank Grillo and Aaron Tveit). Hazel finds her mother severely wounded but still alive, realizing she has no other choice, Hazel faces her fears and sets out across the desert for help. Not only is she danger of herself, but also in danger of the gunmen still lurking nearby.
Big Sky is a new independent thriller that unfortunately lacks any and all thrills. Not only this but it also suffers from some weak writing. The concept itself is great. What the writer of the film does well is capturing the point of view of Hazel and her fears and getting a sense of her character and the emotions and mind-set she is going through and gives us a good sense of Agoraphobia. I will give it enough credits that the writing is good up until after Hazel starts her journey. From there on out, it really starts to lose momentum. There was a lot that could have been done following Hazel and putting her in much more peril than what she was given. Instead there were too many jumps from Hazel, to her mom, and to our villains. It got to the point where I grew tired of the latter scenes. Especially the mother’s that served little purpose. The villains’ scenes could have been fine had something actually occurred and given enough motive for the ambush (if there was one given, I certainly didn’t catch it, or even understand it). I will also give major props to it for great cinematography. It catches the scenery and the world Hazel finds herself fearing and trapped in perfectly. The initial crash and ambush is also solidly filmed in the respect that it captures it from the same POV as Hazel. As for the character Hazel herself, Bella Thorne provides a solid performance. She doesn’t have the character overreact and get overdramatic in the scenarios that most people with this fear are depicted as in film. Thorne really knows and gets her character. It’s not a fantastic performance but for a newcomer after fresh off the Disney Channel farm, it’s well-done. Along with Thorne we get a good performance from Sedgwick. The two actresses have great chemistry as mother and daughter, and while Sedgwick’s solo scenes are unnecessary, they do give her a chance to shine and give a good performance. The two actors playing the villains, while not bad, they just didn’t really provide anything a villain should in a thriller like this. This very well could be due to the lack of character depth that we don’t really get to see or know them enough.
Big Sky could very well have been a solid thriller with it’s great concept and breakthrough performance from Bella Thorne, as well as its great cinematography. Unfortunately it ends up being a crash and burn right when it starts to pick up because of its confused and awkward writing and lack of any real thrills and drama. It’s far from horrible but it is definitely a lost potential of a film.
Big Sky can currently be viewed on iTunes and Video on Demand.