In Palmer (2021), after a 12-year stint in prison, Eddie Palmer returns to his home town hoping to get his life back together when he forms an unlikely bond with a young outcast named Sam. The film is directed by Fisher Stevens and stars Justin Timberlake, Alisha Wainwright, Juno Temple, Ryder Allen and June Squibb. Palmer is now streaming on Apple TV+. YouTubers James Profetto from the channel Reel James, Ruben from the channel The Ruby Tuesday, Chris from the channel Tait’s Take and Deadline Hollywood share their thoughts on the latest role from Justin Timberlake.
Even if the film itself was badly filmed. If there were mistakes made or the story wasn’t that engaging, because the characters are so relevant because you immediately are on their side, I think it makes up for any flaws the film could have had. But I don’t think it does. I think the tempo and the flow of this film are exactly what you expect it to be.
YouTuber Ruben finds himself very engaged in the storyline due the performances from Justin Timberlake and Ryder Allen. Their character arcs and development are so well written and performed, it is easy for the YouTuber to sympathize with the characters and ultimately root for them to succeed.
Ryder Allen gives the best performance of the film, even outshining Justin Timberlake, says YouTuber Profetto. Deadline Hollywood also agrees and says the newcomer is outstanding and puts on quite a show for someone so young:
A seven-year-old kid by the name of Sam. He’s played by newcomer Ryder Allen and he is irresistible in this role. A real find.
However, all the best acting in the world could not cover up for the fact that the writing leaves the film feeling very surface level with familiar tropes we have seen before in movies, according to Profetto. The YouTuber says the film had potential to be so much more, but failed to give more depth and layers to some of the characters, specifically Eddie:
I just don’t think Palmer is as good as it should have been. The story is pretty surface level and honesty, it is bland for the most part. I actually felt like I was going in and out of scenes and just not really feeling impacted as much as I probably should have been. The writing definitely could have been more layered and its very surface level. Again, it’s not one of those movies that’s going to make you sit down and think and unfortunately there are a lot of cliched story beats that we’ve seen before.
The dialogue and writing are the films biggest drawbacks and made the characters feel like they were just going through the motions, says the YouTuber. It is not one of Timberlake’s best performances because he feels more like “an emotional place holder.” A middle of the road type of film where it is very predictable and at times some of the scenes just all seemed to blend together, according to Profetto.
On the opposite spectrum, YouTuber Chris feels Timberlake nailed the character of Eddie Palmer.
Seriously this movie is actually great. Justin Timberlake has done enough movies to graduate from the singer that does movies category to the serious actor category. And this has to be his best work to date … this movie is a great addition to that second chance genre, but what this movie adds in a unique way, is the kid. And I’m sure there’s been other movies that tackle gender identity in kids, I just haven’t seen them.
One aspect of the film some of the YouTubers noticed is the film style. Director Fisher Stevens is more well known for his documentaries and YouTuber Deadline Hollywood feels his different approach to directing is very much showcased in Palmer in the way it is visually put together.
The film comes from director Fisher Stevens, of course an actor himself in many things … he is a fine director himself particularly of documentaries that he has produced. He is an Academy Award winner for The Cove and has done many others as well. He brings a kind of authentic style to this and I think it’s his documentary background which really helps make it work.
It definitely has that “indie” vibe to the film, says Ruben who also comments on the style of the film, in which he says it really fits in with the characters and the story being portrayed.
You get a different sort of style. It’s not documentary but it does have a bit of that kind of indie feel to it. Which I think really worked for this film.
YouTubers James Profetto, Ruben, Chris and Deadline Hollywood, rate and review new movies and TV shows on their channel weekly.