After several children from different families are suspected to have been killed by wolves that roam the area, writer Russell Core (Jeffrey Wright) is hired by the parent of one of the missing children – a six-year-old boy. Russell is tasked with the mission of tracking down her missing son and also to locate the animal responsible, all while navigating the dangerous Alaskan wilderness. An interesting Netflix movie that had the potential to be far better than what eventually transpired.
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writers: Macon Blair, William Giraldi
Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Riley Keough, Alexander Skarsgard
Heading into Hold the Dark, it has to be said that I knew very little about the film but sometimes those type of flicks turn out to be the best type – unfortunately, that wasn’t the case on this occasion and with a relatively long runtime of one-hundred and twenty-five minutes, it has to be said that as a viewer, I felt every second of it and probably more.
The movie was extremely slow straight from the off and on more than one occasion you could be forgiven for shouting at one or two of the characters to speed things up when so many of the scenes and large chunks of the dialogue were dragged out for longer than necessary. Interestingly, throughout the slow-paced drama of the movie, there was infact an extremely violent and striking action scene thrown in there, but it could even be argued that the shootout segment ended up overstaying its welcome too – just like many of the scenes.
With that being said, the filmmakers did a pretty steady job when it came to building tension and making the viewer feel like something big was about to happen, even when it didn’t. It’s probably worth noting too that there were two or three rather interesting and unique twists and turns that you definitely wasn’t expecting – a real strength of the movie and something that made it less than predictable. Another strength most certainly came in the shape of the visuals and cinematography in general, both were beautiful in patches and the film really captures the unique landscape and breath-taking setting of Alaska in its full glory, along with its vast array of wilderness.
As the movie developed, something that didn’t quite sit right with me, however, was the way in which the movie drew to a conclusion. Throughout the film, naturally, you had questions that you were hoping would be answered by the time the credits rolled, but unfortunately when they did roll, you was only left with more questions than answers. Pretty poor when taking into consideration the long runtime which could have been used more effectively.
In terms of performances, Jeffrey Wright did a really good job as the writer tasked to hunt down the missing child and animals responsible, while Riley Keough and Alexander Skarsgard were convincing in their respective roles as the parents of the missing boy.
Overall, a pretty steady Netflix flick with several good factors but at the same time, several plot holes and segments that didn’t quite add up or ones that could have been explained to a better standard. There’s definitely worse on the streaming service but there’s definitely better too.
“The natural order doesn’t warrant revenge. They’re not what you think, Mrs Slone. What happened here is… Very rare.”Russell Core – Hold the Dark