If you’re looking for a little levity at the box office this weekend, then you’re plum out of luck: The movies releasing over the next few days are a dark and disturbing bunch, indeed. All of them explore the way violence, whether physical, cultural, state-sanctioned, or family-centered, seeps into the collective cultural consciousness and creates lasting toxicity. That’s not to say that there are no awe-inspiring or inspirational moments to be found in these films, in fact, there are plenty of breathtaking images, fascinating characters, and triumphant storytelling feats to fill a weekend (and then some). It’s just that it’s a heavy time right now, both outside and inside of the movie theater. But it’s all right to take a little time every once in a while, and feel the weight of the world—after all, it is emotional, empathetic Cancer season! Whether you want a period piece or a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller, a gobsmacking documentary, or a haunting family drama, there’s a whole lot to be excited about:
Woman Walks Ahead
Another week, another highly-anticipated A24 release! This time, it’s a retelling of the events leading up to the massacre at Wounded Knee, a particularly nasty piece of fairly recent US history. In this milieu, two strangers found their paths converging to form an alliance: Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes, Smoke Signals) and New York portrait painter Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain). Sam Rockwell also stars, in an antagonistic role that echoes more than a few notes of his last on-screen appearance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Against the backdrop of the sweeping South Dakota landscape, a story of unlikely friendship unfolds, in what is bound to be taken as a well-intentioned-enough update to Dances with Wolves. Actually, for more on how Woman Walks Ahead subverts the traditional Western genre and tackles the “white savior” trope, don’t miss our recent op-ed and interview with director Susanna White.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Wow, this movie release has some spicy timing! With depictions of family separations, child kidnapping, false flag operations, cartel violence, and even terrorism, Sicario: Day of the Soldado practically promises to pour gasoline on the raging debates surrounding the southern border. Director Stefano Sollima has big shoes to fill, and from what we’ve gathered, he’s helmed more of a spin-off than a sequel. Sure, our fingers are a little pruny from saltiness over Emily Blunt’s absence. But you know what? Brolin’s back.