After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into the director's chair for this thriller, which mixes a real-life issue with a compelling procedural mystery. It's a gorgeously shot film with especially well-developed characters who bring intensity and emotion to every scene. And they're expertly played by Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen.
It's set on the Wind River native American reservation in Wyoming, a spectacular mountain landscape under a blanket of winter snow. An 18-year-old woman (Kelsey Asbille in flashbacks) has been found murdered in the wilderness, and FBI agent Jane (Olsen) has arrived to investigate. With no experience in this kind of situation, she gets help from local Fish & Wildlife officer Cory (Renner) as well as the reservation sheriff Ben (Graham Greene). But Cory is finding this case very difficult, as the victim was the best friend of his daughter, who was killed two years ago. This gives Cory a special desire to solve the case, no matter where it leads.
Without ever getting flashy, the plot grinds along with a variety of revelations that continually add more detail to the case, characters and, most intriguingly, community. Local customs and practices continually add unexpected wrinkles, all of which guides the very specific journeys Cory and Jane are taking through this situation. So in addition to a pointed comment on the situation of native Americans in US society, the film is also a powerfully introspective drama about two people travelling their own paths through this terrain.
Continue reading: Wind River Review
US Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is an expert hunter and tracker living amongst the snowy terrain of Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. He's used to freezing temperatures and animal corpses, but when he discovers the body of a dead girl while out doing his usual tour of the landscape on his snowmobile, he enlists the help of the town's chief of police who brings in an FBI agent named Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen). Unfortunately, she isn't quite the agent they were expecting and, being from Florida, is far from familiar with this kind of weather. But when it becomes clear that they have a homicide on their hands, the three of them band together to uncover the identity of the assailant - or, indeed, assailants.
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While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth is that it's actually a young adult romance, like The Fault in Our Stars with E.T. overtones. The film may be watchable, but the script simply never bothers to develop anything. The science is wobbly, the romance is paper-thin, the sentimentality is off the charts, and the cheesy dialogue would completely defeat a less experienced cast.
It opens with an extended prologue about the first manned mission to Mars and how, after the team arrives, Elliot (Asa Butterfield) was born to an astronaut who died in childbirth. Earth-based mission director Nathaniel (Gary Oldman) decides to keep his existence a secret, so he's raised by motherly science officer Kendra (Carla Gugino) and his robot best pal (voiced by director Peter Chelsom). When he turns 16, Nathaniel decides it's time for Elliot to visit Earth, not knowing that he has developed an online relationship with the tearaway teen Tulsa (Britt Robertson) in Colorado. So when he lands on Earth, Elliot escapes and teams up with Tulsa to search for his father. But Nathaniel and Kendra know that Elliot can't survive for long in Earth's gravity.
There's nothing about this film that's terribly convincing. Events are inexplicable, plot points are under-explained and the filmmakers oddly make no attempt to create a sense of advanced technology or style in 2034. The clothing and cars are distinctly 2016 vintage, and only the impractical clear-glass computer screens add an improbably futuristic tinge. Of course, the 12-year-olds this film was made for won't care about the details; they'll be caught up in the swoony romantic fantasy. Butterfield is a solid actor who can make even a character this thinly defined believable and likeable. His heavy-gravity physicality is nicely understated. And he sparks some chemistry with the high-energy Robertson. Meanwhile, Oldman and Gugino add a hint of gravitas in their thankless roles.
Continue reading: The Space Between Us Review
Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while grappling meaningfully with some very big topics. Set in present-day America, it's a story for today's social climate, but it feels like a classic Western in the way a pair of desperado bank robbers are pursued by a sly detective. It's also beautifully directed and skilfully acted to pull the audience all the way in.
In rural Texas, Tanner (Ben Foster) has just been released from prison when he agrees to help his brother Toby (Chris Pine) stage a series of small bank robberies to earn enough cash to guarantee a future for Toby's sons. Their mother has only recently died, and both are feeling a sense of pointlessness about life, willing to risk everything for a shot at something. But while Toby plans the heists carefully, Tanner is a hothead who continually attracts attention. Sure enough, Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges) catches their scent, working with his loyal but sarcastic partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham) to try to get one step ahead of the crimes. And since he's not looking forward to his impending retirement, Marcus is in no hurry.
Thankfully, director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) is in no hurry either, steadily building the suspense with each step in the story, keeping the focus tightly on the characters. This means that several scenes are breathlessly intense. There are so many intriguing things going on here that the film nearly bursts with resonance, from the old-versus-new world themes to the economic reality that has put Toby in this mess to begin with, and the corporate greed that's offering him a way out. Pine and Foster are perfectly cast in these roles, and both deliver layered performances that suggest at a more complex back-story than the one we learn. Opposite them, Bridges is the picture of calm, a terrific role that he seems to glide through effortlessly. But this is a carefully gauged performance that nails the tricky balance between tenacity, intelligence and grit.
Continue reading: Hell Or High Water Review
Hell or High Water is an American heist crime film which follows the journey of two brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) on a bank-robbing mission in order to save their West Texas family farm. This film, directed by David Mackenzie, sees the brothers calculate a series of robberies on banks in order to raise a sum of cash that they need in order to ensure their family farm's security.
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Breaking Dawn is the final chapter from the Twilight series and picks up where Eclipse ended. Bella and Edward are deeply in love and they have decided to make a commitment to one and other and wed. As Jacob looks on from the side-lines the newlyweds embark on their honeymoon.
Rango is a chameleon who isn't particularly content living the life of the general chameleon, he sees himself as more of a hero figure, striving to protect those who need him; but when he finds himself in a western town called Dirt, Rango must start playing the role he's always dreamt of fulfilling, but once he's faced by bandits will he be able to keep up the charade?
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