Jericho Ridge

Review by Rich Cline | 3.5/5

Jericho Ridge
dir-scr Will Gilbey
prd Harvey Ascott, Mark O'Sullivan, Alex Tate
with Nikki Amuka-Bird, Zack Morris, Philipp Christopher, Solly McLeod, Michael Socha, Chris Reilly, Simon Kunz, Zachary Hart, Trim Ademi, Aidan Kelly, Alex Tate, Olivia Chenery
release US 29.Jun.23,
UK 26.Apr.24
23/UK 1h27

amuka-bird mcleod socha

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morris and amuka-bird
Piling on a range of extenuating circumstances, this thriller quickly builds suspense with multiple layers of intensity before it erupts into full-on chaos. Writer-director Will Gilbey skilfully maintains a high level of suspense by stirring the various unnerving elements together, as thuggish men exchange gunfire while a level-headed woman holds the fort. With a relentless pace, this movie is thoroughly gripping, even if there's not much to it.
In a snowy mountain community, deputy Tabby (Amuka-Bird) has arrived for a dispatch shift in the sheriff's office with her leg in a cast. After everyone heads out on their rounds, a thief (Christopher) who robbed the office earlier that morning returns for more. Meanwhile, Tabby's layabout son Monty (Morris) is involved in something nefarious, there's an antagonistic drunk (Socha) in the cell, and a pushy woman keeps calling. Then the office is attacked by multiple gunmen, and backup is 45 minutes away. And she only has a dodgy old pistol to defend herself.
Tabby is a force to recon with. After diffusing a perilous situation from her desk by watching her colleagues' dashcam, she takes on an interloper with an unloaded gun. She's clearly quick-thinking and very good at her job, still smarting due to a demotion and worried about her wayward son. So as the bloodbath grows ever larger, her resolve only intensifies. And even as the narrative goes off the rails, we are unable to look away. Meanwhile, even more issues gurgle in the background, including an election for sheriff that's coming up soon.

This is Amuka-Bird's show, and she delivers a fiercely physical and emotional performance as Tabby, tenaciously standing her ground even against such a barrage of ruthlessly brutal opposition. As one goon notes, her kindness is her biggest weakness. And the film comes to life in her textured performance, especially in scenes between Tabby and Monty, who is sharply well played by the charismatic Morris.

The carnage pauses only briefly for these few moments of mother-son interaction, which helps add some warmth to the characters and relationships. And Tabby's, mix of professional skill and mother-bear tenacity offers the audience a point of emotional catharsis. So even if the violence is over the top, and the situation increasingly contrived, the way the film never lets up is darkly entertaining.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 24.Apr.24

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© 2024 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall