SXSW 2022 review: Winona Ryder stars in ‘THE COW,’ a twisted thriller you won’t see coming.

THE COW

Upon arriving at a remote cabin in the redwoods, Kath and her boyfriend find a mysterious younger couple already there — the rental has apparently been double-booked. With nowhere else to go, they decide to share the cabin with these strangers until the next morning. When her boyfriend disappears with the young woman, Kath becomes obsessed with finding an explanation for their sudden breakup— but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.


A twisted moral mystery, Winona Ryder stars in SXSW22 narrative feature THE COW. Continuing Ed teacher Kath is dating one of her students. He is younger and on a different wavelength. Max suggests a surprise weekend away. When they arrive at a remote cabin, there’s another couple already there. After agreeing to share the space for the night, Max disappears with the other young woman; Kath is now left in the lurch. As she seeks closure, it turns out there’s more to the story. Where did Max go? Who is this mysterious woman? Welcome to the unreal journey that is THE COW.

John Gallagher Jr is charming and a fresh foil for a more level-headed Ryder. Brianne Tju plays Greta with a sharp edge that makes you want to punch her. When you watch, you’ll understand that this is a compliment. Owen Teague‘s performance is more nuanced than at first glance. His emo nature has a grounded backstory. Dermot Mulroney brings a rugged charm that is irresistible. His chemistry with Ryder feels pitch-perfect. 

Winona Ryder‘s journey feels just right. Blindsided at every turn, she keeps her cool for the most part. The way the script is structured we know more than Kath. This keeps Ryder relatable throughout. I know you’ll agree with me even as the screen goes black. Her final moments are pretty glorious. Fans of Ryder’s work, anything from Beetlejuice to Stranger Things, will love seeing her back on the big screen. We’ll take her wide-eyed wonder in any form.

THE COW is sure to intrigue any audience, thanks to director Eli Horowitz, who co-writes the screenplay with Matthew Derby. A great score from David Baldwin and solid editing back up this phenomenal script. HBO should tap these two for literally any upcoming series pitch. They are a hell of a team. A slow-burn plot holds you with tidbits of information in the form of flashbacks. Twist after twist glues you to your seat and the final 30 minutes had me yelling over and over, “What?!”


Director:

Eli Horowitz

Producer:

Raphael Margules, JD Lifshitz, Shaun Sanghani, Russ Posternak

Screenwriter:

Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby

Cinematographer:

David Bolen

Editor:

Arndt-Wulf Peemöller

Production Designer:

Susannah Honey

Music:

David Baldwin

Principal Cast:

Winona Ryder, Dermot Mulroney, John Gallagher Jr, Owen Teague, Brianne Tju


To learn more about SXSW22 click here!


Michael’s Review: ‘Echoes of War’

Echoes of War Movie Poster (1)Director Kane Senes’ western Echoes of War resurrects some very familiar themes as  we witness the homecoming of a man who has faced the brutalities of war and now finds himself struggling of adjust to life after battle.  James Badge Dale, Ethan Embry and William Forsythe lead the cast in this morally conflicted period piece which yearns to reminds us how wonderful the western genre is, but ultimately finds itself lost on the frontier.

112Wade (James Badge Dale) returns home to Texas after the end of the Civil War to his brother in law Seamus’ (Ethan Embry) farm to help mend his family after the passing of his sister. Seamus tends to his farm with his daughter Abigail (Maika Monroe) and his son Samuel (Owen Teague), both of whom idolize Wade and convince the weary farmer to allow their uncle to stay. Wade begins to settle in and Seamus puts him right to work assisting in the daily chores. During a run to check the traps for food, Wade and Samuel come across Dillard McCluskey (Ryan O’Nan), son of Randolph McCluskey (William Forsythe), neighbor to Seamus and cattle owner who has fallen on hard times stealing their catch. Feeling that he must takes it upon himself to put a stop to the McCluskey’s stealing his families food, Wade confronts the elder McCluskey, which sparks a battle between the families. With tensions running high, will anyone be left standing when the dust settles?

213Co-writers John Chriss and Kane Senes have provided a screenplay filled with way too many western cliche’s and not enough original content. Senes, in his feature film directorial debut, has an understanding of how the story should play out, but the sluggish pace of the film causes this film to spiral out of control. The acting in the film is also very hit or miss. James Badge Dale is very one dimensional in his role as the war veteran. The role seemed ripe for some intense scenes but never captured the true nature of a man returning from war. William Forsythe‘s role is also lost in interpretation. Acting as the antagonist in the film, you neither understand, nor do you care, why the events of his past have lead to the man he is now. The relationship between Ethan Embry‘s Seamus and Randolph really needed to be flushed out more in the telling. Maika Monroe, coming off the critically acclaimed film It Follows, is never truly given the opportunity to show off the acting skills in this film as her character plays out most of the film with the same somber delivery.

ct-echoes-of-war-review-20150514 Overall, Echoes of War is a film that struggles to resonate any true enjoyment for its viewers. A story that is not all that bad, but is destined to ride off into the sunset and out of our memories.

Stars:

2  out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer: