Jon Hamm (Mad Men) stars as Detective Tom Adkins in the film Stolen, a stylish mystery that also stars Josh Lucas as a down on his luck father forced to make some hard decisions in raising his children. Director Anders Anderson tells parallel stories about these two men, each of them dealing with loss; their lives connected by a common tragedy.
Hamm’s Adkins is a devoted cop haunted by the disappearance of his 8 year old son, ten years previous. Adkins holds out slim hope that the boy is still alive (his body was never found), even though his wife (a strong Rhona Mitra) has moved on and a man rots in prison for apparently murdering the child. As the film opens, the skeletal remains of a young boy are unearthed at a construction site and Adkins is assigned to be the lead investigator. While he wrestles with his own demons, he begins to piece together the identity of the dead boy.
That mystery is explained through flashbacks to 1958, which is where Lucas comes in. He plays Matthew Wakefield, a widower trying to raise three sons. The youngest of his boys is mentally disabled, which places a heavier burden on the man, a farmer whose land is taken away from him when he can’t pay the mortgage. Wakefield takes his sons to go live with relatives while he searches for work, but the relatives will only take the two oldest. Thus, Wakefield sets off to find any kind of work he can with his youngest son along for the ride.
Eventually he hires on with a construction crew, makes a friend in James Van der Beek (still trying to shed his Dawson image) and also hits it off with a local woman, Rose (Morena Baccarin), thinking she may be a suitable new wife. Things are looking good for Wakefield, until he’s told he can’t bring his son to work with him anymore. Knowing that the boy is incompetent and incapable of taking care of himself, Wakefield stresses about what to do an how he’ll ever earn enough money to go back to his other two sons.As you may have figured, Wakefield’s son is the child found by Adkins, but the how and why the boy was murdered is part of the drama leading to the climax.
Stolen is a solid independent film and you can certainly see that all of the money went on screen. The dialogue gets a little clunky at times and the identity of the killer is a little obvious to figure out, but Anderson does a fine job directing these quality actors and keeping the action moving along. Furthermore, smooth editing makes the transitions between the present and past easy to follow. Hamm is an excellent actor, as anyone who watches Mad Men knows. He more than proves that he is capable of carrying a film on his own. Lucas is also excellent. Unfortunately his portion of the film is the one bogged down by mediocre dialogue. Still, he brings Wakefield’s compassion and pain to the surface excellently. I was most impressed with Mitra, as Adkins’ wife, Barbara. While she isn’t the central character in the film, Mitra does the most with her part, making the sadness and anger she’s going through as a mother who has grieved and mourned and now needs to move on seem believable.