John Maclean’s sparse Western film strikes a gorgeous balance between the untamed beauty and the cold indifference of the American frontier. The characters are drawn broadly and have archetypal motivations, the sense of humor is dry and dark, and the ultimate tone of the story is tragic. Slow West takes care to unveil its secrets with a practiced pacing, and always knows when to kick up the excitement or introduce some weirdness to keep the spectator’s attention. Though the film clocks in at under 90 minutes, it boasts the full package of powerful performances, spectacular cinematography, and a patient slow-burn story that will leave any film fan enthralled.
Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room takes advantage of two primal human fears to fill its audience with a profound sense of unease: the fear of confinement, and the fear of being outnumbered in a fight. The film establishes an omnipresent feeling of dread by casting the members of a punk rock band into the deep end of a hinterland Neo-Nazi club. Though the set itself is fine, one of the members witnesses something he shouldn’t, and the film becomes a hyper-realistic slasher thriller set in this single, remote location. Though the story essentially recreates the “Ten Little Indians” trope, there is a subtlety and direction to the plot and a dimensionality to the characters that raises Green Room above the common slasher.
On September 12th, 2008, novelist David Foster Wallace committed suicide. Most famous for his seminal novel Infinite Jest, Wallace’s death reverberated throughout the literary community. Fellow writer David Lipsky reels at this news, as Lipsky had interviewed Wallace for Rolling Stone over a period of twelve days at the end of Wallace’s book tour for Infinite Jest. James Ponsoldt’s The End of the Tour begins here, with Lipsky unearthing the shelved tapes from these interviews in an effort to revisit “the best conversation [he’s] ever had”.