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(For Day 20 of NaPoWriMo, the prompt was to write a sijo, a Korean form similar to haiku but with three longer 14-to-16-syllable lines and ending with a twist.)

I received a call from my niece. Yet I’m afraid to answer.
I can’t be sure what to say, much less to expect from her.
I wished we could talk again, for she died only weeks ago.
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MPA rating:  R (some language and violence, mostly at the very end)

I love movies that play with time: time loops, time travel, time displacement, time for dinner. And I’m usually willing to overlook massive plot holes for the joy of seeing a film mess with time in a unique way. Don’t Let Go didn’t get much fanfare upon release, but it’s a sci-fi thriller I thoroughly enjoyed, using its mostly black cast to perfection. As mentioned in the poem, David Oyelowo plays a cop who is crushed when his brother’s whole family is found dead, including his beloved niece Ashley (Storm Reid). To his shock, though, he later receives a call from Ashley and discovers that he’s talking to his niece several days before her murder, prompting them both to figure out how to prevent the crime from two different points in time.

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Don’t Let Go never really addresses how its central concept happens; it just exists to make the plot possible, perhaps as a gift from above, and that’s okay. Oyelowo and Reid make a wonderful team, even when separated by time and cell phone, and the mystery remains tense and compelling throughout. I was also pleasantly surprised that it was largely clean of profanity as well, at least until the very end. Also starring Alfred Molina, Mykelti Williamson, and Brian Tyree Henry, Don’t Let Go is an excellent blend of emotional sci-fi and police puzzler that only strengthens my love of quality genre cinema.

Rank:  List Runner-Up (very close to List-Worthy)

© 2021 S.G. Liput
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