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keeping_roomTHE KEEPING ROOM

Written by Julia Hart / Directed by Daniel Barber / Starring Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Muna Otaru and Sam Worthington

Daniel Barber’s THE KEEPING ROOM is a fascinating experiment. The director has taken the home invasion thriller, and relocated it to the American South in the time of the Civil War. That in itself sounds incredible, but as we have seen many times before, a great log line does not necessarily make for a great film.

With the men away at war, Augusta (the always mesmerizing Brit Marling) lives in an isolated farmhouse with her sister Louise (Hailee Steinfeld) and their slave, Mad (Muna Otaru). On a journey into town to pick up medicine, Augusta encounters Moses (Sam Worthington) and Caleb (Ned Dennehy), two drunken soldiers with a history of violence. Moses begins to assault her, but Augusta fights back and hurries home. Continuing their mission to wreck havoc, Moses and Caleb follow Augusta back to her home, where they plan to extract their revenge.

The Keeping Room Movie (2)

THE KEEPING ROOM is a bit of a mess. There are a lot of really great things going on in this film, but by the time the credits roll they do not add up to very much. This idea of the female driven western is incredible in itself, but writer Julia Hart does not seem sure that she knows what to do with it. The film spends quite a bit of time establishing the relationships between its three female leads, and this is perhaps its strongest section. With the tonal change into a home invasion thriller, it all begins to feel less exciting. I myself would have been content with a film that follows three very different women working together on a farm, but this is unfortunately not the case. Take away the setting and the fact that we have female leads, and there ultimately is nothing very interesting about the film’s home invasion focused second act.

Marling, Steinfeld, and Otaru truly give it their all, and that is what keeps the film afloat. Marling is fascinating in just about every single thing she does, but it is a shame that her talents were not used for a better executed film. There is not necessarily anything that is particularly wrong with THE KEEPING ROOM; the pivotal problem is that the film shows so much potential for what could have been.

3 sheep

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One Comment

  1. Looking forward to seeing this film.

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