General William Tecumseh Sherman that begins THE KEEPING ROOM, an initially enticing, small-scale mixture of war film, western, suspense thriller and -- given the leading characters, there is no way around this -- feminist tale of what happens when a couple of unhooked and marauding Union soldiers come up against a trio of put-upon Southern women. The remainder of that "War is cruel" quote, written out in full at the film's beginning, is brought to ugly but believable life in much of the film that follows.
The incidents we see, however, shatter us with their extreme and unnecessary violence. But, hey, we've got that quote to live up to. The filmmakers do not dwell on excessive gore; we see what we need to: the intended and some unintended results of war. We also note the extreme fear experienced by the victims of that war, who have excellent reason to be afraid.
Britt Marling, above, and Hailee Steinfeld, below,
Muna Otaru, shown below).
Sam Worthington (below) and Kyle Soller, and feel sorrow at the plight of their victims.
Michael Caine revenge tale, Harry Brown, demonstrates a good sense of pacing and eye for detail, and his film is atmospherically shot (as above, by German cinematographer, Martin Ruhe) and well-scored (by Martin Phipps/Mearl), I just wish it had held up a little better (and a little longer), before losing us.
Drafthouse Films and Cinedigm, after playing a very limited run (in Albuquerque and Chicago earlier this month) heads straight-for-video tomorrow, Tuesday, December 29, available on Digital Download HD. Click here for further details on how to order a DVD or Blu-ray.