1922 (Zak Hilditch, 2017) wr. Zak Hilditch from novella by Stephen King. prod. Liz Kearney, and many others; Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid

A simple yet proud farmer in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to assist. But their actions have unintended consequences.

This is Zak Hilditch's first (of two so far) Hollywood movies, after the four features he completed in Western Australia. His first was The Actress (2005), the second Plum Role (2007), another film with a title drawing attention to the acting, and the third The Toll (2010), which does not seem to have got a general release. But the film that got the attention of American producers was These Final Hours (2013) - which was preceded by a short film called Transmission (2012) to sell the idea. (The short starred Angourie Rice, who was also a lead actress in Hours. She later won Best Actress in the 2018 AACTAs for Ladies in Black.)

This film apparently sticks closely to the Stephen King story, which I haven't read. It seems to me that Hilditch was undecided between two genres. The film starts out as a naturalistic family drama in a prairie setting, Nebraska. But, halfway through, it shows the director's interest in the horror genre, and shows some unpleasant images, mostly to do with rats, generated by a supernatural premise. Apparently there wasn't enough of that for a horror fan - but this viewer would have been quite happy for the film to go as it began. It falls between the two stools: labitur enitens sellis herere duabus. Thomas Jane, in his brilliant central performance, is the only thing that holds the contraption together.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 9 March, 2021 | Now: 13 March, 2021