Esther McCarthy reviews It and Wind River
IT (16) ***
MANY WHO READ Stephen King’s best-selling novel or watched the TV miniseries which it spawned ended up swearing off clowns for life.
Ironically for a horror thriller, the movie works best as a drama, thanks to the finely-drawn characters and banter among its young cast. Children have been going missing in mysterious circumstances, and we see one such disappearance of a little boy in macabre circumstances in an opening scene.
One of them is still traumatised by the disappearance of his little brother, and he and his group of friends start investigating connections to Pennywise, a demonic clown said to surface every 27 years.
Director Andy Muschietti does his best with sound and effects to crank up the tension, and I imagine those who do fear clowns will have plenty to shiver at here. But it’s as a coming-of-age drama that It feels at its most assured.
Wind River (16) ****
With Hell or High Water and crime thriller Sicario, Taylor Sheridan showed he was capable of building great tension and powerful storytelling into his screenplays.
Now he’s getting the opportunity to do so behind the camera, and boy, does he deliver.
Jeremy Renner is Cory Lambert, a man who ekes out a living as a game tracker on a remote Native American reservation in harshest Wyoming. When he stumbles across the body of a local woman he knows, and pushes for a federal investigation, he comes under the radar of an young FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) sent in to do the paperwork.
What appears initially to be a slow-burning police procedural drama develops into a shocking and brutal second hour, and the plotting is smart and dense.