TIFF 2018 Review: THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK (USA 2018) **1/2

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek Poster
A former cop-turned-militia man investigates a shooting at a police funeral.

Director:

Henry Dunham

Writer:

Henry Dunham

Writer/director Henry Dunham’s debut feature tackles a series of current issues – gun control; violence; loyalty among others.  The film begins with the announcement of a mass shooting, not shown on screen, an incident unfortunately too common these days.  The cops are all out to find those responsible, being under great pressure from everyone.  

The story centres of a neighbourhood militia that have an assortment of weaponry.  It is discovered that the recent mass shooting was apparently carried out by one of its own members as one of the AR-15 rifles (reportedly used in the shooting) stored in a lumberyard warehouse is missing.  Fearing that the authorities have already connected the weapon to their collective and will soon descend, they resolve to determine who among them has broken ranks, so that they can deliver the perpetrator to the police and not risk jeopardizing their operation. 

The film has little action and lots of talk.  Most of the excitement comes in the revelation of the dialogue.  Of course, if the whole film relies on the dialogue, it should be flawless.  But there are a few loop holes.  The audience is also required to be 100% attentive to the dialogue while expecting a few plot twists.  A few bouts of humour are inserted (there should be more), but all the talk seems too much for a Midnight Madness movie.

TIFF 2018 Review: HOLD THE DARK (USA 2018) ***

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Hold the Dark Poster
Trailer

After the deaths of three children suspected to be by wolves, writer Russell Core is hired by the parents of a missing six-year-old boy to track down and locate their son in the Alaskan wilderness.

Director:

Jeremy Saulnier

Writers:

Macon Blair (screenplay by), William Giraldi (based on the book by)

HOLD THE DARK is the latest film from director Jeremy Saulnier (GREEN ROOM, BLUE RUIN) whose specialty appears to be moody thrillers.  In HOLD THE DARK, written by Macon Blair adapted from the novel by William Giraldi, the film begins with a child playing outside in the winter snow when he sees a pack of wolves.  The child goes missing.   His home is one of a handful of trailers on the edge of the wilderness in Alaska.   His father (Alexander Skarsgård) is serving in the Middle East and his mother (Riley Keough) seems to be succumbing to cabin fever.  

She calls in Russell Core (Jeffrey Wright), a writer and expert on wolves; she believes the creatures took her boy and hopes Core can find him.  The film is quite different for a number of reasons that enable it to stand out.  The first is the wilderness setting.  The second is an unlikely older unattractive looking hero who disappears for a length of the film.  Anyone can be killed off in the story.  

The film is also a bit over the top in violence that undermines the authenticity of the story.  Still, HOLD THE DARK is an apt thriller.

Happy Birthday: James Badge Dale

jamesbadgedaleHappy Birthday actor James Badge Dale

Born: James Badgett Dale
May 1, 1978 in New York City, New York, USA

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