#TIFF18: “HOLD THE DARK” REVIEW
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Medora Slone’s (Riley Keough) son has gone missing in the Alaskan wilderness. She presumes wolves have taken him, and calls in expert Russell Core (Jeffrey Wright) to help track down the body and kill the wolf who did it. But Russell suspects something is not quite right, and when her husband Vernon (Alexander Skarsgård) returns home from a tour in the Middle East, things only become more violent.
Hold the Dark is Director Jeremy Saulnier’s most ambitious and sprawling film. The Alaskan landscapes (which were actually shot in Alberta) are absolutely gorgeous, even as the Film’s atmosphere becomes progressively darker and bleaker. The performances are all very good and Saulnier’s penchant for brutally graphic violence is amped-up considerably, with a vicious shootout scene ranking as some of the grisliest moments of the Festival. And while the Film is a slow-burn Thriller, it becomes glacially paced all too often. The second half of the Film especially feels dragged-out and overly enigmatic – which may benefit Netflix viewers but will genuinely frustrate some TIFF audiences.
Hold the Dark screens on Wednesday, September 12 at 6:00 PM at Princess of Wales Theatre [World Premiere], Thursday, September 13 at 1:00PM at Elgin Theatre, Friday, September 14 at 9:45 AM at TIFF Bell Lightbox and Saturday, September 15 at 2:00PM at Ryerson Theatre.