A mysterious stranger sends shockwaves through a close-knit community in this nerve-jangling slice of raw suspense. In the wake of a triple murder that leaves the residents of a remote Alaskan outpost on edge, tightly wound drifter Elwood (Christopher Abbott) checks into a motel run by Sam (Jon Bernthal), a former rodeo champion whose imposing physical presence conceals a troubled soul. Bound together by their outsider status, the two men strike up an uneasy friendship—a dangerous association that will set off a new wave of violence and unleash Sam’s darkest demons.
What We Thought:
Sweet Virginia is a bit of a slow burn, but has a good ending and is overall a solid drama. It starts off with a bang, but takes about an hour to get going again. The ending does save the film though.
I like Jon Bernthal and have been a fan long before The Walking Dead. I watched the movie because he was in it and he’s good as usual. His voice reminded me a lot of Andy Lincoln’s in The Walking Dead funny enough. He plays a former rodeo champ who takes over his brother’s motel. Some locals are killed and someone is involved that no one realizes.
The biggest issue with the film, besides it being slow, is that too much is going on. Rosemarie DeWitt plays the wife of one of the men who was killed, but is having an affair with Bernthal. You see them together a few times. You see him interact with the killer a few times. You see him interact with some bad customers at his motel a few times (and that doesn’t pay off at all). He goes to a basketball game of a girl who works for him. So much else is going on that you aren’t sure what you are watching.
Then the killer doesn’t get the money he asks for and there’s a break in at someone’s house and finally a standoff at the end. I expected more of the ending drama throughout the film. I expected Bernthal to do more with/against the killer than just the ending. The synopsis talks about unleashing Sam’s (Bernthal) demons, but I wouldn’t say that was accurate. If that was the case, the bad customers would have served more of a point.
If you like Jon Bernthal, I’d give Sweet Virginia a watch. It is a bit slow, but he’s good and the ending works. I just wish the action at the beginning and the end also happened in between.
Cast & Crew:
- Jon Bernthal
- Christopher Abbott
- Imogen Poots
- Rosemarie DeWitt