Based on the short story “Winter Light” by acclaimed author James Lee Burke, GOD’S COUNTRY is a neo-Western thriller set in the snowy wilderness of the American West. Thandiwe Newton plays Sandra Guidry, a Black professor living and working in a rural college town. She discovers a mysterious red truck parked in her driveway and soon learns it belongs to a pair of local hunters seeking to enter the forest behind her house. Sandra turns them away politely but firmly – her experience tells her these are not the sort of men to welcome freely into her world. But they won’t take no for an answer, and soon Sandra finds herself drawn into an escalating battle of wills that puts her most deeply held values to the test.

What We Thought:

Thandiwe Newton gives a solid performance in God’s Country. The film is watchable because of her performance because the movie isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it has a great backdrop and looks very good as well.

Newton plays a professor at a college that has predominantly white teachers. She wants a bit more diversity in the hiring process. You might be thinking that’s what the movie is about, but it covers a lot of ground. That’s the biggest flaw with the film, it tackles too much and wanders because of it.

On top of the college storyline Newton has to deal with two hunters who are parking on her property. One you will recognize from Yellowstone if you watch that. She calls the local authorities, but they’d rather let it slide, but it turns into the focus of the film. But you can also tack on a creepy professor who might have crossed a line with an assistant and a Hurricane Katrina substory as well. Like I said, it covers a lot of ground.

If God’s Country was simply about Newton having to deal with the hunters and the ways of the town while coping with the loss of her mother it would have been fine. If it was about her trying to bring diversity to a middle of nowhere area it would have been fine. If it was about her coping with a new life after leaving post-Katrina New Orleans with her mother it would have been fine. Unfortunately it combines too much and never focuses on one thing until the end. The beautiful location and Newton’s performance hold the film together though.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s