*Not much to spoil here…
Still reeling from the loss of three lives, Hannah is a smoke jumper who’s perched in a watchtower high above the Montana wilderness. She soon encounters Connor, a skittish boy who’s bloodied, traumatized and on the run in the remote forest. As Hannah tries to bring him to safety, she’s unaware of the real dangers to follow: two relentless killers hunting Connor, and a fiery blaze consuming everything in its path.
“We looked it right in the eye.”
Taylor Sheridan is a busy man these days. He is helping to run one of the biggest shows on TV with Yellowstone, he just got a writing credit on Without Remorse and now drops his own movie this past weekend in theaters and on HBO Max. The problem sometimes though if you are stretching yourself that thin you may lose quality in your work. That is what this new movie felt like to me.
This new story starring the great Angelina Jolie, has her portraying a smoke jumper in Montana. Yes, I know it is as bizarre as it sounds to see one of the most strikingly beautiful women on the planet playing basically a firefighter. She sticks out like a sore thumb, but honestly that is not the issue I had with the movie. It was more that it felt like it was written in cliches and western tropes. You have the bandits (Aiden Gillen and Nicholas Hoult) trying to track down a boy who got away during a shootout. They of course find a reluctant tracker (Jon Bernthal), erstwhile the boy is bonding with Jolie’s character and trying to get away. Sure it can work if it is executed well, but it all seemed pretty bland from the writing, which is odd considering the level of writing Sheridan has done.
I will throw a few positives out there, one being the relationship between Jolie and Finn Littles characters. You can tell Jolie is a mom of 7 like she is when she has scenes with him because she is just so nurturing and motherly. You do feel like he is protected when he is with her which is important. I also thought the fires all looked fantastic, I just wish we actually got to see some more of the smoke jumping in action.
Stock Down – Taylor Sheridan
Sheridan has written movies like Wind River, Hell or High Water, and Sicario which are some of the most acclaimed movies of the previous decade. However, like I said his last few projects have started to slip and he needs a big comeback movie soon. He obviously has the talent, he probably just needs some inspiration for something fresh. I do like that he is basically single handedly keeping the western genre alive though.
Stock Neutral – Angelina Jolie
She has been a huge star for a very long time, but is she a good actor? She has one of the great screen presences of all time, but her choices in projects has really not given her a chance to show her acting chops. I hope she does take some roles moving forward where we get to see the talent she showed when she won the Oscar for Girl, Interrupted.
*A couple other tidbits
- Why is Nicholas Hoult in this movie?
- WHY IS TYLER PERRY IN THIS MOVIE?
- Unbelievable that they are playing Cornhole in a Montana smoke jumper station.
It is frustrating to see a movie like this sometimes though because you have everything you need: a great cast, a great writer/director, and a big studio behind it. I just do not think the story worked at all. Like I said though, the Neo Western genre needs more movies, so sometimes you might make one that is a little bit lower quality. However, I do enjoy what the genre can bring overall.
*You can find my 2021 Movie Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
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