On paper, Emma Tammi’s directorial feature debut ticks all the boxes for a movie that suits this particular scribe’s tastes.
It boasts a strong cast of actors placed in a psychological predicament in a harsh and isolating environment, where they must face their demons if they are to survive their ordeal.
When dealing with such an ideological set of circumstances, it requires a fairly weighty plot and background for the characters to wade through, which is a tough gig for any director to pull off let alone attempting to do so on your first outing.
The characters are either going to slide through their troubles, barely skating on the surface, or be sucked down into the murky depths and bogged down by the intensity of their plight.
If you choose the latter, you fall prey to losing your audience, and this is where I found myself as I ambled across the terrain laid out in The Wind’s storyline.
In order to build tension, Tammi develops a slow burn, allowing the characters to breathe in and assess their situation but the slow changes in gear can and will frustrate some.
To the film’s credit the cinematography is sublime and Lyn Moncrief is able to capture the sheer beauty that only the American West can convey on the silver screen with some simply stunning shots on show.
Catlin Gerard (Insidious: The Last Key) is sensational as Lizzy, a strong-minded frontier woman, dealing not only with the loss of a son in childbirth, but also adapting to the Wild West alone with her husband, but then forced into that uncomfortable situation when a new couple arrive as neighbours.
It is here that the notion of civility creeps back into their world once more and yet the isolation that their environment offers belies their situation.
The problem lies in the ambiguity of Lizzy’s plight, because the moments it kicks in, really do kick in and you start to question, is she actually experiencing a paranormal event or has cabin fever struck sending her to the brink of madness?
Whilst Tammi decides to leave the answer to this question up to audiences’ imagination, the building blocks that she creates in her deeply atmospheric world are not strong enough to form a solid foundation and are a little too vague.
Strong performances and powerful imagery create enough style to hook you into a psychological and tormenting land, but it lacks enough substance to establish the powerful and lasting effect that the director was aiming to achieve.
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