Tribeca 2019: Come to Daddy

Elijah Wood in Come to Daddy. Photo by Jamie Leigh Gianopoulos.

Led by a solid performance from Elijah Wood, Come to Daddy is a thriller from start to finish with a nice mix of comedy thrown into the mix.

When we first meet Los Angeles DJ Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood), he’s getting off the bus somewhere near the coast.  He’s visiting his father–a man who hasn’t seen in three decades–after getting a letter from him.  While the two appear to be hitting it off, things quickly go south.  It’s very easy to side with Norval in watching the two of them duke it out.  If there’s a World’s Worst Dad award, Norval’s father would certainly be among the top nominees.  Yet here the two of them are reuniting in the remote cabin.

While the film is largely a thriller, there are some comedic moments between the two of them.  One such moment comes during a shared bonding opportunity over Elton John.  Oh yeah, there’s also a rotary phone.  If you’re going to have a landline, there are better phones to own.  Okay, I digress.

Come to Daddy marks the directorial debut of Ant Timpson.  There’s some bold storytelling choices being made here on the part of Timpson and screenwriter Toby Harvard.  It’s a match made in heaven between the two of them.  What’s more remarkable is that they’re able to pull off the story with such a minimal cast.  The plus side to this is that it does allow for the film to have more of a character-driven plot.

Elijah Wood is–well, he’s Elijah Wood.  I like what he brings to the film.  Even for a project that is very personal for Timpson, Wood is playing Norval.  We’ve seen films over the years where an actor is standing in for the director.  I assure you that this doesn’t feel like one of those films.  It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Norval feels like a fish-out-of-water when he comes to visit his dad after so many years.

In addition to the acting performances, what really helps compliment the film is Karl Steven’s thrilling score.  If you went into the film without reading a single thing, the opening musical notes tell you in an instant.  It’s one of those scores where you just know it’s the one for this film.  Throw in the sound design and it’s a good mix.

Part comedy and part thriller, Come to Daddy is a different type of father-and-son story.

DIRECTOR:  Ant Timpson
CAST:  Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Michael Smiley, Madeleine Sami, and Martin Donovan

Come to Daddy holds its world premiere during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in the Midnight program. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.