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Posts Tagged ‘Graham Greene’

Jeremy Renner, Gil Birmingham

“WIND RIVER” My rating: B

*113 minutes | MPAA rating: R

With his screenplays for “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” Taylor Sheridan joined the ranks of our best storytellers of the contemporary American West.

He cements that reputation — though not without a couple of minor missteps — by writing and directing “Wind River.”

Set on the sprawling Wind River Indian Reservation in mountainous central Wyoming, this snowbound mystery is triggered by the death of an 18-year-old Arapaho girl. Apparently she ran for several miles barefoot through a blizzard before succumbing to sub-zero temperatures. But what — or who — was she running from?

Her body is discovered by Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), a hunter for the wildlife service whose job is to eliminate wolves, cougars and other predators dining on domestic livestock. Soon he’ll be tracking down two-legged predators.

On one level “Wind River” is a buddy movie pairing the woods-smart Cory with Florida-reared Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), an FBI agent dispatched to investigate what appears to be a murder on tribal land. He knows every snowfield and ravine within hundreds of square miles; she shows up without so much as a pair of long johns.

But as seems always to be the case with a Sheridan film, just as important as the mystery is the milieu in which it’s set.

In this case it’s a world of natural beauty and aching poverty, dying traditions and doped-up  youth. Here white assumptions collide with Native American realities. Resentments and prejudices can surface at any time.

Renner’s Cory is the perfect guide through these conflicting cultures. Born nearby and as comfortable in a cowboy hat as a fur-lined parka, he’s divorced from an Arapaho woman with whom he has a young son. In short, he’s a man with one foot planted in the white world and the other in Indian country.

Sheridan’s screenplay provides plenty of thumbnail portraits of colorful characters. (more…)

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Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough in "Brighton Rock"

“BRIGHTON ROCK” My rating: B- (Opening Oct. 7 at the Glenwood at Red Bridge)

111 minutes | No MPAA rating

For his feature film directing debut, Rowan Joffe (he was the screenwriter for George Clooney’s “The American” and the zombie flick “28 Weeks Later”) has turned to the classics, so to speak.

Or at least to Graham Greene.

“Brighton Rock” is the second screen adaptation of Greene’s 1938 novel about a ruthless young hoodlum and his naive girlfriend in the titular British resort town.

The original 1947 film made a star of young Richard Attenborough, who played the amoral young thug Pinkie Brown; it’s unlikely the same will be said of any of the cast members of this version.

Not that the film is poorly acted. It isn’t. But even with a happy ending tacked on (the same happy ending tacked onto the previous version), this is a sad, soul-sucking experience.

(more…)

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