6.3/10
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7 user 26 critic

Sweet Virginia (2017)

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A former rodeo champ befriends a young man with a propensity for violence.

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621 ( 1,033)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Sam
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Elwood
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Lila
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Bernadette
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Paul Anderson
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Maggie
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Marty Petrowne
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Tom Barrett
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Prostitute
Cameron Hilts ...
Man
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Lloyd Stothers
Jason Groves ...
Paramedic #1
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Storyline

A former rodeo star, with a small time life, unknowingly starts a rapport with a young man who is responsible for the violence that has suddenly gripped his small town. Every character from his loved ones to his business patrons, plays a part in the unravelling of this community. Our aged hero must face his relationships of past and present to come up against this unpredictable predator.

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Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, some strong sexuality, language, and drug use | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

21 April 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Смерть на Аляске  »

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Trivia

The China Brothers original spec script for Sweet Virginia was high on the Black List in 2012 - an annual list of the best screenplays in Hollywood yet to be produced. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Good film, but an unsatiated experience.
18 November 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is one of those films which goes round in your head for hours or days after you've watched it. I wouldn't at all be surprised if it achieves cult status with debates on its merits and shortfalls continuing for some time. It often felt like it was on the brink of something exceptional, but never quite manages to break through to that accolade and even though it certainly swept me away in places, I came away not fully satisfied.

Without question it is a very powerful film and there is much to love here. It's great work. The cast is superb. Jon Bernthal who plays Sam 'slam dunks' this role like he does every one, and really was a perfect choice for this part. Actually, the whole cast is superb. Christopher Abbott does a similarly excellent portrayal with the chillingly edgy psychotic Elwood.

Its a deep and rich story, well constructed and thick with the intricacies of real life and complex relationships. There's no glossing over the plot with thin filmed convenience or casual coincidence, it as detailed story that unfolds well and delivers how a good thriller should.

The characters all have well constructed identities that give the film excellent realism. Bernthal's character has more meat on its bones than an Angus steak. Great care has been taken to give him a fully laden his persona with all the dimension of real life and I think actually this may be one of the films failings. There's so much meat on the carcass the film never really gets round to addressing all the choice cuts available. At the end your left wondering about delicious morsels untasted and left as carrion for the mystical Hollywood scavengers.

The film is well directed well and well structured, but the pacing is slow and consistently so. I think this is another of its failings, a small one, but still a failing. I say this because with a film with so much to depict, accelerating the pace in places would serve to heighten excitement in areas that could have been more engaging while more comprehensively addressing certain aspects of the story. Having said that, what the film does expertly is create a suspense filled ambiance throughout, and that goes a long way to compensating for the issues I have picked at.

I liked a lot but didn't love it. It was just too consistently low key, and everything somehow felt mildly underdone. I will definitely watch it again though, and actually think I will enjoy it more the second time.

I do recommend it, as it is still a pretty good film.


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