Genre: Action, Western
Year Released: 2022, 2024
Runtime: 1h 45m
Director(s): Jesse Edwards
Writer(s): Jesse Edwards
Cast: Briza Covarrubias, Allee-Sutton Hethcoat, Micah Fitzgerald, Paula Miranda, Paulette Horton-Lamori
Where To Watch: in select theaters Nationwide February 23, 2024
RAVING REVIEW: A modern western that is more in line with the current subgenre of westerns that I enjoy. There’s enough action throughout the film that will keep most interested in the storyline and the film’s narrative.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of westerns, although I’m beginning to think I should change my wording to “modern westerns.” HELL OR HIGH WATER, SICARIO, and WIND RIVER all opened my eyes to the realization the genre is something I enjoy. Others, including THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, DJANGO UNCHAINED, LOGAN (yep, I’m counting it), and more, are just some of the other examples off the top of my head.
ALTA VALLEY was no exception; as my first official film review from the 2022 Nashville Film Festival, it was an incredible way to start. The film pays homage to classics like THELMA & LOUISE but with a twist that adds the next level of importance to the narrative.
The film continues to up the ante almost its entire runtime by adding to the trip, but even more so by showing the injustices done to the family. It’s ultimately a story with far deeper meaning than even the critical story on the surface. Director Jesse Edwards meant for the film to be as impactful as it is by disguising it as an action film, and I think that’s truly brilliant. “More thorough films and documentaries will be made about the Diné (more commonly known by the name given to them: the Navajo) people’s history and culture, but I believe this film will reach a new audience with its exciting genre and its unique story.”
The film wasn’t only created with a story to tell but actively made a difference by searching to do so in the most sensitive ways possible. From filming near (not on) the Dinés land to employing as many locals as possible; I think this is a critical practice that should be recognized, it’s one thing to tell a story about a group of people, and it’s another thing to do so with their help and respect.
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