The Parts You Lose
The Parts You Lose
Aaron Paul as The Man

The Parts You Lose: Sign of better things

Riley Riley

In this low key, atmospheric thriller a young deaf boy finds an injured armed robber in a small rural community in North Dakota.

He tries to tell his father, but to no avail, so he drags the man into a shed on the family farm outside Richfield where he nurses him back to health.

The local cops know the man must be hiding out somewhere and pay the farm a visit.

The boy and man form an unlikely friendship.

The Parts You Lose is a 2019 film directed by Christopher Cantwell  and is based on a screenplay by Darren Lemke.

Cantwell is an American writer, producer, and director who has worked in television, film and comic books.

He is best known as a co-creator of the TV series Halt and Catch Fire (2014) for which he also served as a producer, screenwriter, and director.

Danny Murphy stars as the 10-year-old boy, Wesley, who attends a special school for the hearing impaired.

He is bullied at school; at home, he has a good relationship with his mother, but not his distant, abusive, alcoholic father who hits him.

The man, played by Aaron Paul, teaches the boy how to stand up to the school bully as well as his father.

“Stay calm. Stand your ground.

Look him straight in the eye . . . and break his goddamn head open.”

You might recognise Paul as Jesse Pinkman from the AMC series Breaking Bad (2008–2013), for which he received several awards.

Interestingly, in 2013, he helped organise a contest to raise $1.8 million for his wife’s non-profit anti-bullying organisation, the Kind Campaign.

The two other major stars are the boy’s parents: Ronnie (Scoot McNairy) and Gail (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

McNairy starred as computer engineer and internet pioneer Gordon Clark in the aforementioned Halt and Catch Fire.

He got his start with bit parts in films including Wonderland (2003), Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005), and Art School Confidential (2006).

Winstead is an actress known for her versatile work in a variety of film and television projects.

She is probably best known for her role as Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010).

The action, what action there is, is divided between friction Wesley’s father causes with the family and Wesley’s interaction with the man in the shed who he sneaks food and supplies to.

They talk, workout and play checkers.

Early in the film a visiting investigator tells Wesley the story, or perhaps parable about a woman who befriends a baby mountain lion.

She feeds and nurses the lion, but the wild animal eventually turns on her and kills her and her whole family.

The message is clear: the bank robber will turn on Wesley too, if indeed he is the one helping him.

Fast forward and the wanted man recounts the story of how he lost a finger.

It was bitten off by a ‘tiger’ that attacked him, but in his case he learned how to hunt, tracked down the animal and ripped its heart out.

“And ever since then, no tiger has ever taken another bite out of me again.”

Spot any similarities.

The takeaway is clear: Wesley needs to toughen up, to learn how to fight back and survive.

The Parts You Lose was filmed in Winnipeg, Canada.

It’s a cold, desolate, snow-swept winter landscape.

Since Murphy and his character use sign language, producers involved staff and students from Winnipeg’s Manitoba School for the Deaf.

However, Murphy, from England, was fluent in British Sign, which is completely different from American Sign Language.

When ASL interpreters first met with Danny, they couldn’t understand what he was saying, comparing his signing to a thick Scottish accent.

So, Danny learned ASL for the film.

The Parts You Lose is really a coming of age story, about the transition from child to adult.

It’s also a tale of escape, the man from the circling police and the boy from the dominating clutches of his abusive father who hasn’t even taken the time to learn sign language so he can communicate with his son.

Yes, it’s a bit slow, but the scene has to be set, the characters are complex and it takes time to build the relationship between the man and the boy which is central to the plot.

The performances from Paul and Murphy are as engaging as they are believable as each turns to the other for help.

If you’re tired of the mindless, superhero action movies that seems to dominate our screens, you won’t be disappointed.

The Parts You Lose is a well-crafted, absorbing and thought provoking piece of cinema — one which writer Lemke’s probably regards as his finest moment.

You can catch The Parts You Lose on Prime.



CHECKOUT:  The Whispers: This is not a Drill!

CHECKOUT:   Across The Universe: All you need is love

Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

Sign me up!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *