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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Review: The Wind

Director: Emma Tammi
Screenplay: Teresa Sutherland
Year: 2019

Synopsis: Lizzy and her husband Isaac live in an isolated prairie in the western United States in the 19th century, where the wind never ceases to roar. Lizzy starts feeling a supernatural presence and her husband considers it to be superstition. Once a new couple arrives at these lands, a series of events start to unfold that reaffirms to Lizzy that there is a presence around that stalks her.

“The Wind” mixes horror cinema with “spaghetti western” style and borrows a few elements from folk horror. While this combination may sound weird, in this movie they end up being very rewarding. One of the many points in favor that this movie has is the richness and aesthetics of the cinematography, and this combination of styles is fundamental for this. So much the gorgeous cinematography, as well as the dissonant background music, creates a sentiment of solitude and terror that play a very important role in the development of the plot.

The opening scene in “The Wind” starts in a high and dark tone. If you are observant or if this is not your first time viewing it you can notice a lot of symbology in this scene that establishes the tone for what will be part of the problem of the rest of the story. This scene carries a lot of strength and does a good job of putting the viewer in alert since the first minute and make it interested in the events that lead to this moment. After this scene, the tension lowers considerably and devotes to be a character study about the protagonist Elizabeth (Lizzy).

In this character study, we have the story being seen from the perspective of Lizzy. The main problem circles around the loneliness in the prairies in the west of the United States in the 19th century and how the people that lived in those places could adapt to this solitary and hostile way of living. The interesting part of all this is that the story is presented by a not trustable narrator, as it is seen from Lizzy’s perspective and there is always the doubt if what she is seeing is real or a product of her imagination. The other interesting part is that the movie is not told in a chronological or linear way, and it jumps around time periods without advice.

Regularly I am not supportive of this type of movies that jump around time periods without advice. This can be very confusing and be harmful to how the viewer understands the plot. This problem also happens in “The Wind”, where it took me some time to understand the visual clues that allow you to understand which time period it is taking place. From the perspective of how the viewer will understand the plot, this movie makes an effort to keep the viewer in a constant struggle to decide if what happens is real or not, and this jumps in time periods favor to enhance this sense of confusion and mental debate.

As I already mentioned, one of the things that stand out the most in this movie is the cinematography. The director Emma Tammi (“Fair Chase”) pays plenty of attention to details and it is evident that the movie was crafted with a lot of care. The way in which the scenes are presented is as aesthetically striking as they are symbolic, so much so that they can't be fully appreciated in one viewing. A lot of these shots land portray the solitude of living in this place and the acting supports the effect it has on people. The cast composed of Caitlin Gerard (“Insidious: The Last Key”), Julia Goldani Telles (“Slender Man”), Ashley Zukerman (“The Pacific”), and Dylan McTee (“Roswell, New Mexico”) do a superb job in landing this message, particularly Gerard, who interprets Lizzy and is who is on screen the most and who has the responsibility for making the viewer care for her, as well as maintaining the ambiguity between supernatural or psychological events.

“The Wind” managed to catch my attention since the get-go and even in the slower parts, it kept me interested thanks to its exquisite cinematography and great acting. Although it has a slow burn development, it starts making more sense and picking up the pace at about half of its runtime and really rewards the viewer for that gradual development. It requires a lot of attention from the viewer to understand what is happening and seeing it one time is not enough to put together all of the pieces of the story brought by Teresa Sutherland (“The Orphan”) but is worth it. The more I think about the movie, the more I like it and the more I want to see it again. On my behalf, this movie is highly recommended, especially for those that like movies where the characters, situations, and surroundings are deeply developed.

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