7/10 My third most anticipated film of 2021 comes from one of the best writer/directors working today; Taylor Sheridan (“Sicario”, “Hell or High Water”, “Wind River”, “Yellowstone”). His name in addition to the fine ensemble cast is what drew me to this film and while this is a good film, I must admit to being underwhelmed by it due to my sky high expectations. The film is roughly an hour and 40 minutes and is probably the first Sheridan film that I will complain moves too fast. Most of his films fall around two hours long but by cutting 20 minutes out of his normal running time, we lose out on character development which is something Sheridan normally excels at. We know Angelina Jolie’s trauma that she sustained but that seems to be her only characteristic so we don’t care that much about her or her struggles. Most characters in the film are given one characteristic and don’t grow all that much. Tyler Perry is pointless in the film as he is only given a cameo. Why you’d waste a big name actor’s time on such a tiny role is beyond me. Finally, the villains were badass but generic as their only motivations are following orders and we know nothing about their personalities. All that being said, there is plenty to admire here. We get an extremely talented cast and one of the best actors was actually the film’s child actor, Finn Little, who impressed me throughout the entire duration of the film. Even if characters are underdeveloped, they do the best with what the script gives them. Sheridan and the crew lit real, controlled fires so although CGI is used, the combination of CGI with real fire is impressive and a visual feast. The score and cinematography are solid and there are a couple of comedic moments that feel natural to lighten the mood in an otherwise heavy film. Even though I wish the film would have been longer to develop characters more, the pacing is strong as you will be entertained and glued to the screen without growing bored for a second. Sheridan continues to show off beautiful parts of America that often go overlooked in Hollywood films and like in “Yellowstone”, Montana’s beauty is on full display here. If not for my through the roof expectations due to Sheridan’s involvement, I probably would have enjoyed this a little bit more but if you keep your expectations in check, you will find yourself enjoying this film. It may not have a lot to say and it definitely isn’t as great as Sheridan’s previous directorial effort, “Wind River”, but this is an enjoyable film that I would still recommend to everyone.

#HoultAndCatchFire / #GloomRaider / #MadeasFieryReunion / #TheMaleBlaze / #TheAirICantBreathe / #BlazeRunnerTheScorchTrials

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