Director; Scott McGehee & David Seigel. Starring; Owen Teague, Haley Lou Richardson, Gilbert Owuor. Rated R. Color. 114 Minutes.
Many people around the world have experienced some form of parental abuse. For the most part it is somewhat tame, at least in my experience. I’m talking about a spanking or a simple slap over the head. The real tragedies occur when a parent beats their child so badly during a fit of rage that they are hanging on for dear life. When you combine that with a sibling turning a blind eye to such a scenario, the emotional scars are quite possibly worse than the physical. That is what directors McGhee & Seigel attempt to tackle with their indie film “Montana Country”.
Two relatively unknown actors star in this family drama . Owen Teague plays Cal, short for Calvin as Cal Ripken Jr. was his father’s favorite baseball player. Pops is on his way out after a massive stroke that has him in a coma`. The family ranch that was once flourishing is dying along with the patriarch. A black nurse from across the sea named Ace (Gilbert Owuor) is tasked with taking care of the dying man on his ranch. Ace is the calming presence in what is a complicated household.
Enter Erin (Haley Lou Richardson). Erin has been estranged for seven years from the family after suddenly leaving without telling her older brother where she was going. Turns out, she went to live in New York and has only returned to see her father one last time. It is not out of respect and more so to tell the old man to burn in hell. Erin needs closure mentally. The trip to the ranch was only supposed to be one night. As part of the financial costs Cal is dealing with how to keep his monster father alive, Erin’s childhood horse Mr. T is about to be put down. This is not ok with Erin, who decides that she will take the 25-year-old horse back to upstate New York with her, no matter how shitty the truck she drives back is.
First off, “Montana Country” is a gorgeous movie meant to be seen on the big screen. Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens continues to capture beauty in a way that is hard to find. The two main leads truly crush it and have made theirselves known to the film world. “Montana Country” is not perfect. The side mining plot intruding on Navajo land is such an afterthought. No gravity to that serious issue. However, the drama between the brother and sister is absolutely captivating. You will come out contemplating family violence and the validity of such actions afterwards. But hey, spoiler alert, the horse MR. T lives!
Suck Factor: 2 out of 7 (7 Means Your Movie SUCKS!)
The SUCK FACTOR! How it works. We’ve flipped the script on the standard ratings system. If you make a classic ala “The Godfather”, you receive 0 out of 7 SUCKS! If you make total garbage like Michael Bay does, you get an imperfect 7 out of 7 SUCKS!