“In a Valley of Violence” lives up to the promised bloodshed suggested by its title and spins its own brand of tension and, best of all, a frank and bone-dry humor that blows into the whole film. You will either love the comedic edge or find it a distraction from the revenge. There is an undeniable panache to the absurdity that makes the film an absolute hoot. This is the giddy Western Quentin Tarantino wishes he could make while he wastes six hours of our time and stretched disbelief.
Spareness and simplicity can either be a fountain of nuance and austerity or it can be a vacuum of plainness and lethargy. Filmmaker Kelly Reichardt is a celebrated torchbearer of the minimalist film movement and her newest feature, “Certain Women,” boast three strong female leads in Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, and Kristen Stewart. Despite that base of acting forte and the patronage of Todd Haynes as an executive producer, the void outweighs any wellspring.
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