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I wrote some thoughts on this film, a powerful exploration of pain and grief, specifically male grief:


While the film is a mish-mash of genres, and is punctuated by a couple scenes of violence including a soul-sickening rape, its heart is a tale of grief and mourning. Specifically, it is a tale of male grief. While we get to witness the pain of the women in the story—including Lambert’s estranged ex-wife (Julia Jones), the dead girl’s mother who has taken to cutting herself in her grief, and even the physical trauma inflicted upon the dead girl and Banner—it is the men dealing with their pain and grief that drives the action.

We see the weathered and worn weariness of Sheriff Ben, the anger and turn to substance abuse in response to a painful world by the dead girl’s brother, the loneliness and violence from a group of men trapped in the cold wilderness for too long, despair and heartbreak couched in sarcasm and cynicism from the girl’s father, Martin (Gil Birmingham in a scene-stealing supporting role), until he encounters Lambert and breaks down in tears, and of course Lambert himself who having been through a similar loss gives Martin a speech not unlike the words from Anne Lamott above. Lambert also notes at one point that instead of fighting the world, he has chosen to fight the suffering within himself because he notes, “the world would win.”


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I really liked this movie.  It has a couple awkward structural aspects to the way the narrative unfolds and the way Elizabeth Olsen's character is written, but I don't find those particularly damaging.  I just like the way Taylor Sheridan tells stories.  Its an old-fashioned vibe you get from classic crime and western novelists, Tony Hillerman or early Elmore Leonard or something, studded with sharp cultural observations throughout. We cpuld use more of this type of filmmaking.

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