The Tall Man


Maybe the biggest implausibility of director Pascal Laugier’s The Tall Man is the idea that dozens of missing Caucasian children in a community would fail to attract the attention of federal law enforcement or that one loathsome garbage monster on CNN. But once you get through the flaming, Bowser’s Castle–like gauntlet of the rest of the story’s implausibilities, you end up in a different movie than the one on the creepy poster. Jessica Biel is a small-town nurse; her husband, a doctor, has died, making her the town’s only medical provider. Laugier creates an ominous atmosphere, situating the rusting skeleton of a community amid the foreboding majesty of tree-covered mountains. Residents whisper rumors of the black-clad “Tall Man” spiriting children away. When Biel’s child is stolen, she pursues the kidnapper and enlists the help of a police lieutenant Stephen McHattie plays with stony grimness. Which is basically as much as it’s fair to reveal, because then the plot makes some reversals; plays some sleeve-concealed aces, jokers, and Hoyle pinochle instruction cards; and just when you’ve exchanged your assumptions, the film goes all, “JK LOL,” and requests you accept a way more boring third set of assumptions. Which, to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson, pretty much makes an “ass” out of “u” and “mption.”