WIND RIVER Review & Analysis

Wind River takes its name from a Native American reservation so large that it covers more acreage than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.  With only six police officers to cover the vast territory, FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) and Fish and Game Department tracker Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) step in to help.

The startling truth behind Wind River is just as dramatic; the danger on the reservation knows no bounds.  A two year initiative to decrease crime failed: instead, there was a 7% increase.

Writer/director Taylor Sheridan uses the film to explore multiple issues: murder, missing women, and a pervasive sense of hopelessness in a wilderness where many don’t survive.

For more about Wind River, take a look below:

 

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BABY DRIVER Review & Analysis

Most people will say Baby Driver is a heist caper.  While writer/director Edgar Wright’s latest film features those elements, the real story comes during what happens in between the action scenes.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver for a series of robberies coordinated by Doc (Kevin Spacey).  He’s trapped in a bit of indentured servitude following a run in with Doc from years earlier.  A diner waitress named Debora (Lily James) seems just as lost as Baby and the two form a connection.  Lest we learn more about her, the story belongs to Baby alone.

In fact, if there’s ever a question that Baby Driver is more about Baby than his driving, look no further than the action sequences for the answer.  During the actual robberies, we don’t even have the opportunity to watch the action; the camera remains steadily on Baby.  At one point, while waiting in the car as the getaway driver, he pulls forward so it becomes impossible to catch a glimpse of the action even in the deep background.  It isn’t until Baby himself begins to evolve that we begin to see the action as well.

The movie also stars Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Jamie Foxx and Eiza González.

For more about Baby’s evolution as evidenced through the use of glasses, take a look below:

—>Keep in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @realZoeHewitt.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

THE ACCOUNTANT Review & Analysis

THE ACCOUNTANT is about an accountant who is as brilliant with numbers as he is with discretion. Christian Wolff, played by Ben Affleck, has made most of his money as the trusted accountant to cartel leaders and other criminals. In the midst of working a legitimate job he finds a discrepancy that endangers multiple lives. The movie also stars Anna Kendrick, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow, JK Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jean Smart and Cynthia Addai-Robinson.

The character of Christian is supposed to have Aspergers, which is a high functioning form of Autism. He and the other characters who have this diagnosis alternately made me think their acting was uncomfortably fantastic and wondering if they were going too far. I noticed in the credits that five different people were listed as ‘Autism Consultants’ so I do believe that they worked hard not to make the portrayals caricatures. Overall, I think the acting was really good and that Ben Affleck managed to convey a lot of emotion through very little dialogue. Anna Kendrick shone, though her storyline didn’t do her any favors. Family is a huge theme in the movie and it’s emphasized repeatedly: how important family loyalty is as well as the question of what makes a good parent. There are several parent/child roles in this movie that you can watch for, not just the biological ones, but the ones that can occur in even a boss/employee relationship.

Despite the big theme of family, you can also track the theme of compartmentalization, or more specifically shutting yourself off from things. Instead of cells in jail, there are dividers; there’s a train you can spot going around the Christmas tree during a flashback to Christian’s childhood, Christian keeps an airstream trailer in a storage unit—so a container within a container.

The music was also fantastic. It stood out to me from the very beginning, particularly when it managed to balance the feeling of eeriness without going overboard into cheesy or predictable.

I am really good at suspending my disbelief. I’m very willing to go along with the premise that’s set up, I wouldn’t be in a movie otherwise. But, I was pulled out so many times with regard to how certain characters were treated and even during the big final climax that I had to wonder how someone could have put together a movie that was Oscar-worthy and laughable without noticing the discrepancies. Since I don’t want to give away any spoilers, I won’t say more than that, though as always I’m happy to continue the discussion in the comments!

I’ve talked before about movies that don’t seem to know what they want to be and while I think THE ACCOUNTANT was well enough directed and acted to make up for any shortcomings, I think the movie would have done a bit better to decide if it was more suspense or more action. The action was heavier than I’d expected from the previews and I admit that I covered my eyes at two different times. I’m not sure all of it was necessary. That said, the movie is just over two hours long and goes by in a flash.

For more about THE ACCOUNTANT, take a look below…

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