The Reel Review
Kevin Costner and Diane Lane star in this 1960s-era Western crime thriller, about a retired Montana sheriff and his wife who travel to North Dakota to rescue their toddler grandson from the violent, lawless family of the man who married their dead son’s widow. The film is an adaptation of Larry Watson’s 2013 novel.
Writer/director Thomas Bezucha’s efficiently minimalist screenplay conveys his characters’ complex relationships in subtle, realistic ways, blending tender, poignant moments, a building sense of dread and some shocking brutality to culminate in a taut, thrilling climax. There will be tears and there will be terror.
In an era cluttered with eye popping, mind numbing Marvel CGI extravaganzas, it is refreshing to be able to enjoy Costner and Lane’s exceptional onscreen chemistry in a relatable, realistic story, set to the backdrop of scenic vistas of the American West and a poignant score. Just as Lesley Manville dominates the screen as the evil clan’s over-the-top matriarch, so too does Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga film series) in his own surprising, understated way as the young Native American man explaining why he lives in heartbreaking isolation. This is one of those haunting stories about loss and self sacrifice that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
• Diane Lane and Kevin Costner played Clark Kent’s parents in 2013’s Man of Steel.
• Larry Watson’s novel is set in 1951, with the couple traveling from their home in North Dakota to Montana. In the movie they live in 1960 Montana and travel to North Dakota.
• Director Thomas Bezucha wrote and directed 2005’s The Family Stone, which starred Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson and Rachel McAdams.
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