GOD’S COUNTRY is a new thriller from IFC starring Thandiwe Newton in a fiercely strong portrayal of a woman who has had enough. This is a slow-burn thriller but at the same time, it escalates quickly. Read our full God’s Country movie review here!
GOD’S COUNTRY is a new IFC thriller about a woman who is well and truly at the end of her rope. Also, this movie excels at being both slow-burn and having a story that escalates wildly towards the end.
The cast is fairly small but full of strong performance. I am especially fond of Thandiwe Newton in the lead, but she only shines more working across from these other strong performances. The movie takes place right around Christmas, but I can understand why it’s released now. It’s too dark and brutal for a Christmas release!
Continue reading our God’s Country movie review below.
It’s all about Thandiwe Newton
Yes, I know, I just said that Thandiwe Newton is even stronger from having other strong actors to work with in God’s Country. But really, this film could have been just her on the screen and it still would’ve worked. She is absolutely brilliant in this movie.
In fact, many scenes do just feature her as we follow her go through the motions. Mostly the motions of trying desperately to be left alone or achieve some fairness. I won’t reveal what she’s been through prior to the events that happen in this story.
You will know her life story before it’s all over. Also, you’ll probably guess a few things along the way. We get a lot of teasers and hints along the way.
I have long (or just always, really) been a fan of Thandiwe Newton. She delivers one amazing performance after the next. Whatever the genre or style, she just grabs the attention of the viewer and holds it. The story is all about her character. She has just lost her mother and lives alone in a very secluded area where she struggles to be left alone.
The brutal evolution of God’s Country – and that ending!
As mentioned earlier, God’s Country is most definitely a slow-burn movie. We have to understand the seclusion and desire to be left alone before things can escalate. And really, the less you know the better. Just be ready for a very intense ending!
And we’re not just talking the final few minutes. It’s the entire final act of God’s Country that had me shaken!
The story begins when a college professor (Thandiwe Newton) confronts two hunters she catches trespassing on her property. Simple enough, you’d think since private property is practically sacred in the US. Well, not quite, it would appear, when living in this rural area.
Instead, she’s encouraged to just let it go. She’s told it’s “easier that way” and when you see the hunters and how they react, you can understand this recommendation. However, she’s been dealing with enough BS for many years and she is done! That’s why she is drawn into an escalating situation.
She might be in the right (she is!), but she can’t get much support from the community. She’s a “newcomer” and needs to just adjust and accept. If you’ve watched Thandiwe Newton in Westworld, you’ll quickly recognize the look of defiance on her face as she decides to fight back.
Watch God’s Country in theaters or On Demand
Julian Higgins is the director and co-writer of God’s Country. This is the feature film debut of Julian Higgins who previously directed on the TV series House and Guidance. However, he does also have quite a lot of short films on his resume. And quite a few awards and nominations in that regard.
The other screenplay writer is Shaye Ogbonna who previously worked on The Chi series and the IFC Midnight genre hybrid Lowlife (2017). The story is based on the short story “Winter Light” by James Lee Burke.
I’ve focused a lot on Thandiwe Newton because this really is her movie, but the rest of the cast is also amazing. I especially have to highlight Jeremy Bobb (The Outsider) as the acting sheriff, Kai Lennox (The Girl from Plainville) as the new Dean, and Tanaya Beatty as a student.
And, of course, the hunters played by Joris Jarsky (Saw V, October Faction) and Jefferson White (The Alienist). Both deliver brilliant portrayals in very different ways.
I found God’s Country to be fascinating, engaging, enraging, and extremely recognizable and realistic. Thandiwe Newton is amazing in this, but the directing is also strong and direct. The same goes for the story and strong screenplay that tells a story that handles social commentary in a very honest (and yes, brutal) way.
God’s Country is in theaters from September 16 and On Demand from October 4, 2022.
Director: Julian Higgins
Writers: Shaye Ogbonna, Julian Higgins
Stars: Thandiwe Newton, Joris Jarsky, Jefferson White, Jeremy Bobb, Kai Lennox, Tanaya Beatty
When a college professor in the remote mountains of the American West confronts two hunters she catches trespassing on her property, she’s drawn into an escalating battle of wills with catastrophic consequences.
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