More a movie to live in than to watch. And if I could pick anyplace to live, it might just be a Gothic George Strait America of perpetual dusk, filth, jean jackets, and sexy blood-drinking out by the oil derricks. But the problem here isn't just that the story devolves into a series of wobbly plot points and arbitrary turns. It's that it requires us to root for someone who doesn't want an eternity of hellraising sociality with Henriksen, Paxton, and the gang.
The sphere of white cotton dresses and badminton rackets is beset by racial Others in a proto-Searchers narrative, a replay of familiar colonial dynamics at the scale of a Sunday at the riverbank. (Any attempt to separate DWG from his later virulence is hobbled from the start.) Yes, there is a consistency to the filmic world of thickets and roads, a mode of spatial realism and narrative economy that feels newly ironclad. A visual ecology of river water and blowing…