The small working-class town of Angels Crest is a tight-knit community resting quietly in the stunningly beautiful Rocky Mountains. Ethan (Thomas Dekker), one of the town's residents, is a young father but not much more than a kid himself. He has no choice but to look after his three-year-old son Nate, since mom Cindy is an alcoholic. But one snowy day, Ethan's good intentions are thwarted by a moment of thoughtlessness, resulting in tragedy. A local prosecutor (Jeremy Piven) haunted by his past goes after Ethan, and the ensuing confusion and casting of blame begins to tear the town apart.
A young father Ethan, a blue collar worker in a small, frozen town somewhere in the mountainous American West leaves his 3-year-old son, Nate, asleep in the back of his truck while he goes to hunt a deer. Upon his return Ethan discovers Nate is gone and after a long and fevered search the tightly knit community are devastated to find his tiny body frozen in the snow. It is utterly heart-breaking.
This however is the single most poignant and painful scene in the entire film, for the next eighty-odd minutes audiences are treated to overplayed melodrama, stereotypical characters and a predictable script that all do a great injustice to what could have been an insightful depiction of grief.
Ethan, plagued by guilt and hounded by the local D.A (who is in turn nursing the loss of his own child some time earlier) spends the movie wringing his hands, beating his chest and pulling a face that is meant to signify a strong man holding back tears, but rather looks more like an overweight man battling with poorly digested meat. The child’s mother, Cindy, spends the film searching for solace at the bottom of a beer can whilst her God-fearing mother provides little support or emotional connection; their relationship stumbles along, not like the relationship of two grieving parents each struggling to comfort the other, but like under-developed characters who legs and feelings both lack the skeletal structure to carry them.
All of this is ultimately a failure of direction, as this poorly handled movie begins with a great deal of potential but ends with dry-eyed resentment and relief.