The Evening Hour is one of those morality plays that constantly straddles the line between good storytelling and derivative writing. Cole Freeman (Phillip Etinger) is a drug dealer with a heart of gold. He cares for the elderly members of his community while also supplying painkillers to local addicts. Just when it looks like Cole has successfully navigated the tricky balance, outside forces endanger everything he has worked to maintain.
It is really hard to get behind a character like Cole. Not because the performance is bad. On the contrary, Etinger does an excellent job with the conflicted, if cliched, drug dealer. The same can be said for the setting. The Evening Hour gives each location in the film a run down feeling that adds to the depressing atmosphere of the story. The film looks a downtrodden as its characters.
Therein lies the biggest issue with The Evening Hour. The script is never willing to get out of its own way. Instead of being a quiet exploration of the vicious cycle of poverty and despair, it falls into melodrama and clichés. While this would still be generic, strong writing can also make things more palatable. The over the top emotion leads to some poor dialogue in an otherwise good film.
The film moves at a patient pace. This enables audiences to get fully invested in the characters and their situations. The Evening Hour may sometimes let emotions overpower the story, but when it does let the story breathe, it is a captivating watch. The careful construction of the story is in direct contrast to the overwhelming feelings of the movie. It is also a constant reminder of just how good the film good have been if a little more restraint was practiced.
The Evening Hour can be a powerful movie at times. Its central question of whether it is okay for a person to do bad deeds for the right reasons can be a little tiresome at times, but the strong cast make up for it. It is when the film bombards the audience with formulaic interactions and exaggerated reactions that things become more difficult to watch.
The Evening Hour opens in theaters July 30
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