Kingsman: The Golden Circle

GoMovieReviews Rating:

MA15+Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Written by: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

Produced by: Adam Bohling, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Edward Holdcroft, Michael Gambon and Poppy Delevingne.

I like to think I have a dark, somewhat, twisted sense of humour, but about 15 minutes into, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, it stopped being funny and became ridiculous.

As with the first, Kingsman (Kingsman: The Secret Service), there is the intentional push into the bizarre with sociopathic villains sporting robotic attachments – akin to a Bond film, yet modernised.

Which led to the huge success of the first Kingsman: entertaining action with a spot of difference that refreshed the British Secret Service while retaining all the charm.

The attempt to modernised the spy genre here, however, was a script filled with the cliché and the just plain stupid.

The inclusion of the Glastonbury Festival and the aged-before-her-years bimbo and terrible dialogue with pick-up lines such as, ‘My crow is looking for a place to nest’, led to confusion with a blurred line between the film making fun of itself and being silly, or not, and therefore coming across as stupid, try-hard and gross.Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Funnily enough (ha, ha, there’s my lazy pun for the day), the apparent obsession with the sh#tter was some of the most amusing parts.

Following on from Clara (Poppy Delevingne), the Swedish Princess getting it Greek style at the end of, The Secret Service, we now have Eggsy (Taron Egerton) swimming in a sh#t filled sewer, an old man having the best sh#t in two weeks, and Elton John offering a backstage pass if Eggsy once again, saves the world.

So, you can tell the style of humour… And those were the funny bits…

The storyline had holes (ha, ha, just can’t stop those puns) as well.

Enter Eggsy, battling Kingsman-rejected, Charlie (Edward Holdcroft) leading to the Kingsmen being hacked by drug lord, Poppy (Julianne Moore) – a woman stuck in the 1950s, living her days in the jungle in a replica of the setting of, Happy Days, but with robotic killer dogs and a drive to serve-up minced human flesh as prime hamburger meat.

This is a super-successful business lady who’s getting no cred.

So, Poppy decides she wants illicit drugs legalised and therefore taxed to get credit for being a successful business woman?  And to give the government control of the drug trade?  The elaborate plot Poppy, the drug lord, devices is not going to give Poppy more money or a prize for, Business Woman of the Year.  It doesn’t make sense.Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Add the American branch of independent secret service, resplendent with cowboy hats, code names like, Whisky, and the sound track of Country Road that seems to be following Channing Tatum around after, Logan Lucky, you’ve got the original idea of Kingsman, a modern James Bond, to modernised B.S. (the sh#t included).

What I did like was the amazing camera work with the audience being spun around and skidding and kicking and Kung Fu fighting right along-side Eggsy.  And the character, Eggsy, was still likeable here.

But instead of the class of the iconic British gentleman, it felt like the entire cast was given a touch of the idiot.

Even Colin Firth as Harry Hart played a doe-eyed, brain-damaged, butterfly enthusiast for most of the film.

So, yes, there’s explosive, huge-budget action, but riding on a patchy plot, filled with the ridiculous.

Mother!

GoMovieReviews Rating:

MA 15+Mother!

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Produced by: Darren Aronofsky, Scott Franklin, Ari Handel

Written by: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer.

Like an introvert’s worst nightmare, Mother! invades the personal space of wife/mother (Jennifer Lawrence) sharing an isolated house with her writer husband/Him (Javier Bardem), who disregards her safety and security, allowing strangers (man/woman (Ed Harris/Michelle
Pfeiffer)) into their home.

From the beginning of the film, there’s mystery surrounding the couple.  Living in the family home of Him that was once destroyed by fire – his wife rebuilds as he struggles to write

The house itself is shown as a living entity that absorbs the emotions of mother, as her world is slowly destroyed.

But the film goes deeper than mere loss of control – there’s religious overtones and narcissism, heart-break, sickness and the sense that the entire world has gone crazy, adding to her loss and further annihilation as her husband steps away to come back only to step away again.

Writing and directing, Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan (2010), Noah (2014), Requiem for a Dream (2000)) has given us something surreal where certain elements will illuminate to some whereas other threads will resonate with others.Mother!

It’s a complicated storyline and I think the success lies with Aronofsky writing and directing.  In comparison, the script of the hugely successful, Black Swan was far more straightforward, his direction adding that otherworldly thread, yet, here he’s been given control over his own writing, allowing a further exploration into the surreal.

Strong performances from the cast allow Aronofsky to delve deep into the strange as the characters are believable: a husband seeming to love and understand, yet, still allowing the nightmare to happen translated through the performances of Lawrence and Bardem.

The subtleties of the male and female need to give and take shift between the husband and wife as priority is given to the strangers invading the house to satisfy the dark and twisted desire of Him.Mother!

Mother! is unique and disturbing and thought-provoking and surprisingly insightful into the female psyche.  The want to be alone with a partner and not having to share the sacred space is just one of the themes that struck a chord.

Psychological horrors/mysteries don’t always satisfy the audience with a conclusion. Yet, I felt Mother! gave some sort of ending, tying off most of the loose pieces.

Through all that strangeness and confrontation where the audience is taken through the increasing nightmare of mother’s existence, the story manages to come full circle.

So, although not an enjoyable experience I found the film successfully scratched at the surface of our existence.

I’m glad I watched the film as it was certainly worth seeing, once.  You have to see Mother! to believe the bizarre nature of the film.  But not an experience I’ll repeat.

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The LEGO® NINJAGO® Movie

GoMovieReviews Rating:

PGThe Lego Ninjago Movie

Directed by: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan

Produced by: Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Chris McKay, Maryann Garger, Roy Lee

Screenplay by: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington

Story by: Hilary Winston, Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman

Based on: Lego Ninjago by The Lego Group

Starring: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Michel Peña, Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, Fred Armisen, Olivia Munn, Jackie Chan.

The second spin-off from, The LEGO® Movie, The LEGO® NINJAGO® Movie is based on characters from the Ninjago books, TV series and LEGO® toy-line.

Being a complete novice to the Ninjago world, I took my 5-year-old nephew, an avid fan, to provide some background information (which he enthusiastically supplied, bringing his book full of Ninjago characters).

Thankfully, for a newbie such as myself, the film focussed on the basics of the story, opening with a very human, Jackie Chan as a shop keeper, explaining to a young boy the philosophy and wonder of Ninjago.

And diving into the world of Ninjago, the animation begins:

An evil warlord, Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) AKA, The Worst Guy Ever, is forever trying to destroy and takeover the city of Ninjago.  He also happens to be the father of, Lloyd Garmadon (Dave Franco), the Green Ninja, who is the secret leader of the Ninja Force.

Constantly having to battle his evil father (who’s also kind of a doofus and the funniest character of the film), it’s a stressful life, being hated by everyone because he’s the son of the villain constantly attacking the city.  Only Lloyd’s fellow Ninjas:The Lego Ninjago Movie

Kai (Michel Peña), Red/Fire

Jay (Kumail Nanjiani,) Blue/Lightening

Nya (Abbi Jacobson), Gray/WaterThe Lego Ninjago Movie

Zane (Zach Woods), White/Ice

Cole (Fred Armisen), Black/Earth

(See how much I’ve learned about Ninjago?!!)

know of his secret identity as a ninja who’s also protecting the city from his father.

Even the warlord himself doesn’t know the Green Ninja’s his son, leading to many funny and awkward moments.

There’s a weird kind of humour here, filled with an abundance of puns, aimed at the pre-teen/teen sense of silly.

The themes of being different at 16 years old, yet trying to fit in – the difficulties of relationships with parents and the advice from Master Wu (Jackie Chan) of finding strength within, are all relevant for teens and younger.

However, butt jokes and the tongue-in-cheek vibe with overlying sarcasm didn’t always gel with the father/son dynamic, as some things, I felt, you can’t joke about.

So, some of the film translated for me, some missed the mark.

What I did appreciate was the clever, added detail like the attack sharks expressing their hunger with, nom, nom, nom sounds (hilarious!), and fire for tears and kids trying to hide thinking they’re hidden but very obviously not (like closing your eyes and thinking no-one can see you) – there’s a real tapping into that funny bone.

And some weirdly wonderful montages of the animation cutting to people doing stuff like slapping their painted bellies to highlight the importance of the, ‘ultra-weapon’.

So, it’s a colourful film, and kinda weird and definitely aimed at a younger audience.

As an adult I had a few laughs, and certainly enjoyed sharing the experience with my nephew.

Mountain

GoMovieReviews Rating:

 

Directed by: Jennifer PeedomMOUNTAIN

Music by: Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra

Words by: Robert Macfarlane

Narration by: Willem Dafoe

Principal Cinematography by: Renan Ozturk

Sound design by: David White

Edited by: Christian Gazal and Scott Gray

Produced by: Jennifer Peedom and Jo-anne McGowan

Filmed in: Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, France, Greenland, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland, Tibet, USA.

This is a film about mountains, from the need of humans to dominate, to the terrible beauty, destruction and indifference of creation: Mountain is a reminder of how small we truly are.

I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions from: a state of relaxation, my eyes drinking up the beauty of the slow evolution of story, the film opening on breathtaking panoramas of mountain peaks; to my heart pounding as I watched the madness of people leaping and skiing and bike riding and base jumping from awesome, vertigo inducing heights while the climber smiles as he hangs from the tips of his fingers, the expression both beautific and insane.

Arrogance crumbles when confronted with the immovable yet breathing life of the earth.  We’re just a speck in comparison, to the timelessness of the mountain, just a tiny speak. MOUNTAIN

Sometimes it’s just so good to take humans out of the equation – yet, Mountain is about the fascination humans have of the serene, cold, majestic indifference of nature.

Living in a world of increasing, mad-made controlled comfort, some crave the risk that’s been taken from our everyday lives – to go seeking for that feeling of being alive because at any moment the earth may fall, the vertigo may win, the avalanche may swallow and the oxygen might run out.

How do you make a documentary about mountains?

How do you show the phenomenon of nature?

Mountain is a symphony of poetry, imagery and sound.

Richard Toretti, the artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra collaborated with director, Jennifer Peedom to put together this memorable documentary.

And I use the word collaboration as Mountain is equally weighted between the senses with the soundtrack given as much weight as the words and cinematography.  A concept called synaesthesia that fascinated Richard, where the stimulation of the sense leads to another becoming more acutely attuned.

The soundtrack consists mostly of classical, a point of difference as most of the adrenaline-fuelled high stakes mountain sports are usually backed by punk rock.  Yet, the classical really highlights the majesty of the mountains.MOUNTAIN

And the combination of sound and stomach clenching cinematography creates a thrill as people fly down slopes or jump into the air 1000s of feet above the earth, death defying leaps, where there really must be an element of insanity, to even think, yet, it’s not about thinking, it’s about feeling alive.

Yet, there’s more to this film then just the stimulation of the senses.

Director, Jennifer Peedom who previously won world recognition after the release of the documentary, Sherpa (2015), also touches the idea of the change in the challenge of mountain climbing: the climb becoming a wait-in-line scenario rather than an adventure, where the real risk is taken by others like the Sherpas.  Yet, the controlled destruction sometimes slips from mans’ grip.

Hence the fascination.

‘Danger can hold terrible joys,’ says narrator, Willem Dafoe, quoted from a book written by Robert Macfarlane.

This is a beautiful moment in the film, one of many, with skiers drifting through powdery snow, weaving between the pines to the sound of a Beethoven symphony.

The thread that binds the film is poetics from Robert’s book, ‘Mountain of the Mind’: an exploration into the concept of the sublime.

‘In the branch of philosophy know as aesthetics the sublime is a quality of almost overwhelming greatness and magnitude’.

And in this modern world it is just so refreshing to be reminded of this greatness of nature.

A wonderful escape and reminder that the earth breaths, Mountain is both inspiring and thought-provoking = Food for the soul.

American Assassin

GoMovieReviews Rating:

MA 15+American Assassin

Directed by: Michael Cuesta

Produced by: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Nick Wechsler

Screenplay by: Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz

Based on: ‘American Assassin’

Written by: Vince Flynn

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, Taylor Kitsch, David Suchet, Navid Negahban, Scott Adkins and Charlotte Vega.

In the same vein as previous characters adapted for on-screen action-thrillers, Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne, American Assassin is based on a series of action-thriller novels written by Vince Flynn, featuring Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien): a tortured soul out for revenge.

Training and fighting to kill the terrorists responsible for the death of his fiancé, Rapp is eventually recruited into the CIA by Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to become part of an elite black ops outfit under the guiding, unwavering, cold hand of legend, Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton).American Assassin

Although a later book in the series, production decided on, ‘American Assassin’ as this shows the origins of Rapp and how he became such an angry, one-man terrorist killer.

There’s a familiar feel to the classic formula of the CIA super-recruit. And I’m a big fan of action-thrillers.  But the character Mitch Rapp didn’t have the same humanising warmth as Jason Bourne (Matt Damon).  Rapp is such a hard, angry, focussed young buck, that the film became twee at times with borderline over-acting from O’Brien.

Michael Keaton has the military bearing and intensity needed for the role of trainer, Hurley.  And the fight scenes and bloody bits (spraying into the camera at times) are all believable, giving the film the action-thriller title it deserves.

Yet, there’s just so much macho going on here.American Assassin

The villain, Ronnie, AKA, Ghost (Taylor Kitsch) was the softer of the assassins, to the extent I was tempted to root for him!

Director, Michael Cuesta previously directing, Kill The Messenger (2014) and TV episodes from the likes of Homeland and Dexter, gives American Assassin that dry, flat, violent feel without humour.  This is a serious movie.

And without the colourful Michael Keaton (although kept on a short leash), the film would have been relentless.  As is, I still felt myself drifting with the overdose of action so I lost interest as the film progressed.

Add some of that cheesy attitude of blind-sighted need for domination with exclamation from the soundtrack, I got put off, the suspension of belief wavering, so when Deputy Director Irene Kennedy kept calling Mitch Rapp, ‘Rapp’, I started to cringe.

So, better than Jack Reacher (particularly the first!) but not as good as Bourne.

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Victoria & Abdul

GoMovieReviews Rating:

PG-13Victoria & Abdul

Director: Stephen Frears

Based on journalist Shrabani Basu’s book: Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant,

Screenplay by: Lee Hall

Casting Directors, Leo Davis & Lissy Holm. Casting Director – India, Nandini Shrikent. Music by Thomas Newman. Make-up and Hair Designer, Daniel Phillips. Costume Designer, Consolata Boyle. Production Designer, Alan Macdonald. Editor, Melanie Ann Oliver, ACE. Director of Photography, Danny Cohen, BSC.

Produced by: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Beeban Kidron, Tracey Seaward.

Starring: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Tim Pigott-Smith, Olivia Williams, Fenella Woolgar, Paul Higgins, Robin Soans, Julian Wadham, Simon Callow and Michael Gambon.

In 1887, Abdul travels from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

As the title suggests, Victoria & Abdul is a film based on the (mostly) true events of a previously unheard of close friendship between Queen Victoria and a Muslim Indian, Abdul Karim.

The film opens on a caricature portrait of the queen: an elderly, overweight woman, bored and cantankerous as she attends seemingly endless engagements to celebrate her 50 years on the throne.  Until a tall, handsome ‘Hindu’ catches her eye.

Aside from the difference in age and race, Queen Victoria blossoms under the attention of this most attractive, warm-hearted man.  And you can see the romantic overtures of the relationship as the elderly monarch falls in love with Abdul’s (Ali Fazal) bright eyes and unique perspective of the world.

Although not a physical relationship, Abdul becomes her close confident and Munshi, a spiritual advisor and teacher – completely unheard of in 17th century England.

She persists in keeping Abdul by her side against the pressure and ultimate rebellion of her Court and family, demanding she stop keeping the Indian man’s company, let alone promote him.

And it’s fascinating to watch the iron will of the Queen as she insists – because, after all, isn’t she the Empress of India?

In 2001, journalist Shrabani Basu, while researching the origins of curry, discovered not only Queen Victoria’s love of curries but also a portrait and bronze bust made of an Indian gentleman.   After further investigation, 13 volumes of Queen Victoria’s diaries were found, previously unread because they were written in Urdu (a Persianised and standardised register language of the Hindustani language).

After translating the diaries, Basu discovered the unconventional relationship between the Queen and a young clerk, Abdul.Victoria & Abdul

The book has been adapted for the screen by writer, Lee Hall (who also wrote the beloved, Billy Elliot (2000)), changing the journalistic style of the book into a drama more suited to a wider audience.

Victoria & Abdul

The setting and costuming were carefully crafted, showing the extravagance of royalty while also showing the silliness of ceremony.

Victoria and Abdul is a period drama, which isn’t really my cup-of-tea, but there’s true brilliance in casting Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria (again) – Dench depicting the Queen’s grit beautifully with guidance from director, Stephen Frears (both Frears and Dench having experience portraying Queen Victoria with Frears directing The Queen back in 2006 and Dench cast as Queen Victoria in, Mrs Brown (1997)).

Victoria & Abdul gives a glimpse into the personality of the woman, her iron will and the simplicity of her nature; the drawing reflected so well in Abdul’s eyes.

It was like watching an elderly, sick woman come to life.

And inspiring to see one so sure of her wants and needs against all other opinions, even those of her son.

Fan’s of Judi Dench you will enjoy seeing her play the borderline dirty old woman cradle snatching a younger man (Abdul, 24 when he first arrived in England and the Queen, in her 80s), and to admire her strength of character while surrounded by pompous idiots.

So, an enjoyable watch with highlights of humour and emotional undertones – a chance to look behind the curtain of English Royalty, to glimpse a remarkable woman who, against all odds and so late in life, found love and friendship in the most unlikely person, her Munshi, Abdul.

IT

GoMovieReviews Rating:

MA 15+IT

Directed by: Andrés Muschietti

Produced by: Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katsenberg and Barbara Muschietti.

Screenplay: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman

Based on the novel by: Stephen King

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer and Nicholas Hamilton.

Something sinister is going on in the small town of Derry.

Kids are going missing.  Too many kids.

The story begins with Bill Denbrough’s (Jackson Robert Scott) little brother disappearing – first Georgie, then lots of kids.  Sometimes a chewed-off arm is found, most of the time they’re just gone.

IT follows a gang of outsiders self-named, The Losers’ Club, losers because what they have in common is they’re all bullied by, The Bowers Gang.

We all know how cruel kids can be, but Henry Bower and his cronies are the type who start off torturing animals to graduate to full-blown psychopaths.IT

Bill is haunted by his missing little brother, so the summer after Georgie goes missing, The Losers’ Club band together to try to find out why all the kids of Derry are disappearing.

The quest becomes a waking nightmare as the gang follow an ancient horror down the sewers to find a monster literally feeding off the fear of children: Pennywise, the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård).

IT (2017) is the second film translating Stephen King’s novel of the same name from page to screen.

I was terrified when I watched the original, IT (1990), back in the early nineties.  But after a re-watch, I took the horror-thriller off my recommended list as the film didn’t date well; the idea still there but the effects contrived and no longer believable.IT

The film here, directed by Andrés Muschietti (Mama (2013)) is a faithful adaptation, once again, holding onto the ideals from the novel – the perspective from that awkward in-between age of childhood to coming to grips with adolescence and all that goes with it: puberty, love, outgrowing parents, and trying to figure out right from wrong while dealing with the cruelty that is other people when you’re an outsider.

There’s a warm honesty to King’s writing, particularly when from the perspective of kids, hence the horror of being right there with them when battling the monsters.  And the casting translated that authenticity well (hats off to, Rich Delia, the casting director).

My favourite parts of the film were the coming together of The Losers’ club: motor-mouth Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhand), the hypochondriac, Eddie Kospbrak (Jack Dylan), Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), the girl of the group and the bravest of the them all, the loner book-worm Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the African American home-schooled out-of-towner, Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) and OCD Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff) – all courageous in their own way.  And the humour and chemistry of the gang was a genuine pleasure to watch.

The foundation of the story was watching the kids fight the terror of their own nightmares embodied in the clown that is Pennywise.  And here the story was successful.

The horrors that come, and there are many, are unique and surprisingly different to the first adaptation.

This is not a replica.IT

Unlike the novel (and original film), where the beginning of the story is set in the 1950s, IT (2017) begins in the 80s, giving that, Stranger Things (2016) vibe with the 80s outfits and soundtrack revolving around the comradery of outsiders coming together as a gang to battle something other-worldly.

But l wasn’t as absorbed and therefore as scared during the confrontations with Pennywise, as it felt like a succession of scary bits rather than a slow build of fear.

Pennywise became more present as the film progressed, with some clever inclusions into the day-to-day, but it’s just so difficult to translate that subtle Stephen King-esq creeping feeling…

What I found more scary was the psychopathic people – the bullies and the adults in the film who were just, wrong.

I felt the scary Pennywise bits could have been paced differently, perhaps less being more.

But overall, a quality horror-thriller with good bones – looking forward to what’s next, from The Well…

Wind River

GoMovieReviews Rating:

MA 15+Wind River

Directed and Written by: Taylor Sheridan

Produced by: Elizabeth A. Bell, Peter Berg, Matthew George, Basil Iwanyk, Wayne L. Rogers

Music by: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Kelsey Asbille, Julia Jones, Teo Briones, Apesanahkwat and Graham Greene.

“While missing person statistics are compiled for every other demographic, none exist for Native American women. No one knows how many are missing.”

After writing the screenplay for the two highly regarded crime/thrillers, Sicario (2015) – which I gave a 5/5, and, Hell or High Water (2016), Taylor Sheridan has returned as writer and as director (debut) of the crime/mystery, Wind River.

Set in the cold and snowy wasteland of Wyoming, hunter for US Fish and Wildlife, Cory Lambert (Jeremey Renner) is called out to the Wind River Reservation to track a lion after his ex-father-in-law discovers a cow killed on his land.

While tracking the lion, Cory finds a teenage girl dead in the snow.

The Sheriff (Graham Greene) calls in the FBI where Jan Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) turns up ill-prepared for the below freezing conditions and violence that lurks under Wind River’s icy surface.  She soon discovers in this environment, you either survive or die.

Based on actual events, Wind River is a tragedy beautifully told.Wind River

There’s a poetry in the words spoken and insight into the isolation of living amongst the wolves and sheep, mountains, lions; the predators stalking the prey – the contrast of the outsider, the FBI agent, showing just how different life is out on the snow.

I was surprised at the casting of Elizabeth Olsen (the younger sister of the Olsen twins, previously starring in films such as the witch in, Captain America: Civil War (2016) and receiving critical acclaim for her role in, Martha Mercy May Marlene (2011).  Her role as Jane Banner (the FBI agent) is such a mature, complicated character.  The expression and restraint shows a real depth here, the character believable as law enforcement while also human, understanding she’s out of her depth and smart enough to enlist the help of local hunter, Cory Lambert.Wind River

Jeremy Renner wears the quiet wisdom of Cory well – his ability to show humility captures the essence of this hunter, an acceptance of the inevitable as the cold slowly freezes the land leaving hearts full of sadness.

Since starring in, The Bourne Legacy (2012), Renner has been used in roles with a far calmer demeanor, in my view, stepping up in his role as Ian Donnelly in, Arrival (2016) and again here as Cory.

First time director Taylor Sheridan is to be commended in his success in making the most of the cast and talent.

From the beginning, I felt Taylor had put together a strong film, where each moment, word and gesture show more than just the surface.

Wind River is a film about crime but it’s also about people and place.

There’s a rawness to surviving the land that lends to a contemplation of spirit and wisdom creating a poetry of emotion because the characters are forced to rise above the tragedy, to embrace the sadness to survive.

Taylor has a true talent in showing the tragedy in the fight for survival while also showing the beauty of the reality.  And I continue to admire and congratulate his work.

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