This will be the first of several reviews from this year’s Tribeca film Festival. To follow our coverage, click here.
Synopsis: A modern Western that tells the story of two sisters, Ollie and Deb, who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives. For years, Ollie has illicitly helped the struggling residents of her North Dakota oil boomtown access Canadian health care and medication. When the authorities catch on, she plans to abandon her crusade, only to be dragged in even deeper after a desperate plea for help from her sister. (IMDB)
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Lily James, and James Badge Dale
Writer: Nia DaCosta
Director: Nia DaCosta
Running Time: 105mins
If there was a way to describe this film, it would be Hell or High Water with women. By no means is that a slight against the film, it just adds a much needed perspective that isn’t offered nearly as much in film. The story was about a pair of sisters named Ollie (Thompson) and Deb (James) who must go to great lengths, including illegal ones, in order to survive. When Ollie thought she was done with that life, she is pulled back in to help her struggling sister.
Ollie already had it tough while trying to make a honest life for herself. For now, she had to sell Canadian drugs to her struggling North Dakota community. As in Hell or High Water, this film approaches its world and its issues with the same amount of grit and realism thanks to its thoughtful script and great cinematography. Both Ollie and Deb (but especially Ollie) were compelling to watch throughout because of their excellent chemistry.
The best part of the film was Thompson’s performance as Ollie. In her best performance, she was the picture of strength while handling everything thrown towards her character. It became easy to feel and root for her. James as Deb was great as well despite some clunky dialog on her part. Ultimately, the film would probably have had a much different fate if not for them.
Overall, this was a great drama with a compelling story offering a much needed different perspective, with equally great cinematography and performances.