In the blink of an eye all things known to you can change as you are trying to find the light as it passes through the deepest darkness of life. Twenty five year old, Logan (Zac Efron), is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. He comes from a family of Marines and the first tour was to honor his family but the other two were to honor his friends that serve by his side. In war your fellow comrades watch out for their fellow soldiers more than they do themselves. One night in a military operation a group of American Marines storm a building to find families hiding within, later bumping into another tour of duty and in a flash of a second gun fire occurs and men fall.
The sun rises and Logan is walking outside, he bends down to pick up a picture lying in the sand, a picture of a young woman who soon becomes his guardian angel, on the back of the photo it reads “Keep Safe X”. Searching in war to whom the picture belongs turns up empty but when he returns home he has one goal in life which is to find that woman. On a cross country walk with his dog, Zeus, from Colorado to Louisiana he eventually ends up at Green Kennels, a dog training kennel located in Hamden and run by Beth (Taylor Schilling) and her Nana Ellie (Blythe Danner). Beth thinks Logan has shown up for the kennel job but little does she know that he actually showed up for her.
Everything is going well, Beth is a bit weary of Logan though and exactly what encouraged him to settle in Louisiana. He gets along well with Beth’s son Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart) but right off the bat butts heads with the local authorities, a police officer named Keith Clayton (Jay R. Ferguson ) who just so happens to be Beth’s ex-husband and a man insecure in himself hiding behind a gun, a badge and a supped up car. Logan searches for the right time to disclose to Beth why he showed up at her door-step but constantly loses his window of opportunity eventually falling in love with the woman in the picture that gave him reason to live while in Iraq.
It’s been a year since Beth’s brother Drake (Kendal Tuttle) lost his life in the war and she struggles with the tremendous loss every day, wondering exactly what happened to her brother. But as time moves forward, Logan and Beth begin to solidify their relationship and Ben just adores the new man around the house and as for Nana she wants nothing more than happiness for Beth. One major issue though, Keith wants nothing more than to chase Logan out of town and maybe get back the one thing he never really realized he once had, a family. All glory is fleeting, the fish are flying once again and the question of “why did you come here” is answered. In the end, we learn that everyone has their own destiny whether good or bad, life or death, either way most lives hardly ever die for nothing.
I heard from my friend April who attended the film with me that it was very true to the book which will make many readers happy but for those of us that have not read the book we must go by what we saw on the big screen. Even though it plays out slowly, the direction, cinematography, writing and especially the score are very well done. Even though as a non-reader to the book I found the story to be quite predictable it still plays out well causing the audience to clap during certain occasions on screen.
Efron is definitely growing up and maturing and performs a nice job as Logan but sometimes it’s tough to move past his pretty boy looks and find a true down to earth man rather than a boy trying to play a man. Especially straight from war and out to find the woman he has held a picture of for so many months. Schilling shines in this role but at times just seems a bit off cast when she shares such close and intimate scenes with Efron. Danner is brilliant and Stewart actually holds his own as the youngest member of the family. Ferguson definitely finds his inner evil causing the audience to jeer him on the screen. Overall not very elaborate sets since many scenes are filmed in the same locations in Louisiana but still overall this film was nicely done and is sure to please the female movie-goers and for that matter the dog lovers as well. Written and enjoyed with two paws out of four by Jon Patch.