‘Steady Eddie’ is about a boy named Jesse (Robert Daniel Sloan), a 12-year old, precocious little child, who escapes into the wilderness with his autistic brother Eddie (Gabriel Sousa), for the sake of his survival. For, it’s the 1960s and somewhere in America, Eddie has been summoned on military dispatch to Vietnam and Jesse fears like any other that his brother won’t make it back alive.
The film is a gentle, but effective peel off, of the difficulties faced by the individual and those sharing the space with him in understanding the circumstances that set him apart. Eddie, the autistic sibling of the two despises the fact that he is expected to report to military duty. Despite his mother’s (Shawn Lockie) repeated intervention and requests to the agency, it has fallen on to deaf ears and Eddie is hitting the roof. In the midst of all this, Jesse observes his brother being petrified of the situation and decides to take matters into his own hands and escape to his dad’s old cabin to protect him.
True that his maturity is unusual for his age, but Sloan pulls it off with conviction. Shortly upon arrival, however, it becomes evident that he is not his mother and lacks the ability to restrain his brother. Eddie turns violent when he becomes aware that his officer dad used to spend time with his younger brother without him. ‘Sometimes, it’s good to have some quiet’, Jesse explains, not intending to hurt his brother. The agony any child feels to know their family prefers their absence is truly heart-breaking. But, add to that the connotation of autism and it is devastating.
Through the discourse director, Joshua Amar shows how the siblings bond and the depth of their relation. Jesse, who, in fact, looks up to Eddie for his targeting skills, musters the courage to finally face the inevitable. The coinage of ‘Steady Eddie’ is particularly touching.
The movie focuses on the sibling bond that has time and again proven to be stronger than even the parent-child bond, sometimes. Amar gently works on Matt Pancer’s screenplay without going overboard or overly patronizing his characters. In fact, his earnest effort at portraying the reality of what it means to be autistic or belong to a family that has one is well translated on to screen.'Steady Eddie': War brought them closer… Click To Tweet
Amar is sensitive to the subject and so is the writing of Pancer. Sloan as Jesse Gloss is wise for his age while Sousa as Eddie with his carefree and internalised characterization is spot on. His continuous fidgeting demeanour and pitch perfect dialogue delivery is credible to say the least. ‘Steady Eddie’ is honest, detailed to the point of discomforting and yet truthful in its portrayal of sibling love and bondage…