Texas Killing Fields, 2011 (52 films by women #2)

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The second cab off the rank for 52 Films by Women was Texas Killing Fields, directed by Ami Canaan Mann. I mainly watched this because I wanted to see if Stan had any other films that Jessica Chastain has been in when I saw they added A Most Violent Year and I think this was all that popped up. When I noticed it was directed by a woman, too, I added it to my watchlist. I tend to not write up blurbs for my reviews, but you can take a look at what it’s about over on IMDB.

I don’t want to write much because I prefer writing about films that I liked on here, but I’ve made it a goal to write about each of the films I’ve watched for 52 films by women, so I’ll give it a go.

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I’ve seen far worse films but to be frank this isn’t great. It’s murky and difficult to follow at times; I found myself losing concentration very easily as the film went on. The mystery itself – who the ‘bad guys’ were, so to speak – was easy to figure out, though.

The most interesting character was easily Ann, a neglected teen, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. I think if the film had focussed more on her, cut out Sam Worthington’s character and had Jessica Chastain play Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s partner, it would’ve been a lot more interesting and less scattered.

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I don’t have a lot more to say than what I posted on letterboxd, so I’ll copy/paste that: I’ve always thought Jeffrey Dean Morgan has nice screen presence, or maybe just a nice face. Sam Worthington’s character was a total dropkick, and macho guy caricature. Chloe Grace Moretz did pretty well with not much. And there was nowhere near enough Jessica Chastain.

It’s a pity that it doesn’t pull together better because it’s really quite nice to look at, the premise has a lot of potential and it’s got more than a decent cast. It wasn’t so bad that it made me angry – in fact, I don’t have particularly strong feelings about this film one way or the other – but I didn’t get a lot out of it. All in all, I’d say this is of interest for die-hard fans of the genre or of any of the actors (if you’re a completist like I try to be), otherwise it’s probably not going to be particularly enjoyable. But if it’s been on your radar, don’t let me deter you – I’m a firm believer in watching films to form your own opinion, no matter what anyone else has said.

Up next is The Bling Ring by Sofia Coppola, so keep an eye out for that!

 

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