DATELINE: Young Promise Snuffed Out
Yelchin in Star Trek
The senseless, accidental death of young actor Anton Yelchin becomes more tragic with the examination of his films far beyond the Star Trek series.
Yelchin was on his way to making a serious mark in intelligent, compelling independent drama.
One of these named Broken Horses gives Yelchin a role he seemed likely to patent: sensitive young man thrown into insensitive situations. His rising star is reminiscent of young Montgomery Clift.
The story entails two brothers: one autistic and one artistic. Yelchin is the violinist who escapes the border town where his cop father has been murdered to make a life in New York as a symphony musician.
He suffers guilt over having left his mildly retarded brother in the care of a ruthless drug lord (Vincent D’Onofrio). He returns to learn the horror of how his brother is a brainwashed trigger man for the gang.
D’Onofrio stands like a giant among pygmies, literally. It seems everyone in the cast is a pipsqueak next to his actual heavy villain. Also, of interest is that Thomas Jane takes on a small role as the father of the two boys that D’Onofrio takes in. Thomas and Vincent jump-started their careers in Velocity of Gary 25 years earlier.
The film is the first American movie by Indian director Vidhu Vinod Chopra. His vision of a white stallion charging out of a futuristic house in the desert likely was the inspiration for the rest of the film he also co-wrote.
Chris Marquette plays Yelchin’s older brother with enough dull-wit to make D’Onofrio’s evil manipulation particularly heinous.
Yelchin’s acting promise provides a big flash here.