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Friday, August 9, 2019

THE LUMBER BARON -- Movie Review by Porfle

The patriarch of a 1910 Wisconsin lumber dynasty dies, leaving his family to deal with a failing business and debts that threaten to put them out of their luxurious mansion. 

Not exactly the kind of peril that I can relate to, but THE LUMBER BARON (2018) is fantasy stuff for those of us who wish their problems were so well-appointed. 

The son, Daniel Rimsdale, Jr. (Joseph Bezenek), a disappointment to his father because he's a so-so medical student with no head for business, must quit school and try to save his family. 

In doing so, he uses the journal of his grandfather, the company's founder, as a guide, as well as seeking support from his mother, two sisters, and younger brother.

Most importantly, Daniel assumes a fake identity and goes to work as a lumberjack for his own company, thus not only learning what hardships his employees face but also digging up evidence of corruption that involves his father's main competitor, the vile, two-faced Silas Lynch (Charles Hubbell).

The early part of THE LUMBER BARON shows us the opulent high-society lifestyle of the rather spoiled Rimsdales so we'll know what they're in danger of losing. Fortunately, most of these characters are likable enough not to be as insufferably snooty as they might have been. 

The film's outdoorsy midsection is all about Daniel's lumberjacking adventure, during which he meets Lynch's murderous mole, Doyles (Benjamin Madrid), who receives orders to kill the nosey new employee, and befriends some of the hardworking souls who deserve to be treated like more than galley slaves.

Daniel's return to the family mansion brings on a series of events in which he puts his newfound information and growing business skills to work in setting things right and pulling his family out of debt. 

This means delving into the dark web of deception and foul play surrounding the ever-scheming Lynch, who has his hooks deep in the Rimsdale's affairs and will stop at nothing to take everything they have, even if it means ordering his son to court the oldest Rimsdale daughter who is heir to the estate.

Despite a relatively modest budget, THE LUMBER BARON is elegantly mounted, with authentic locations adding greatly to its production values as well as a stately pace and formal direction by Barry Andersson (EDGE OF INSANITY).

The script by Karen R. Hurd doesn't try to dazzle us with contrived wit--the dialogue is realistically mundane for the most part--nor does it generate edge-of-the-seat suspense or heartpounding drama.

In fact, there are few real surprises (none that we don't see coming anyway) and the plot elements pretty much fall comfortingly into place like an easy jigsaw puzzle, forming a final picture that's pleasing to behold. 

THE LUMBER BARON doesn't try to blast us out of our seats, but is content to offer a calming, balming entertainment that leaves us feeling like we just took a brisk Autumn stroll or a refreshing nap. Which, after some of the depressing downers I've seen lately, is a nice change of pace.

Find out more about this film at Indican Pictures

Runtime: 109 minutes
Format: 2:39:1
Sound: Dolby SR
Country: USA
Rating: PG-13
Language: English


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