Wind River

Many times, the image of red blood on white snow is as beautiful as it is haunting. With the arrival of a fresh coat of snow, the blood might be covered up, but it doesn’t disappear.

Such is the case with Wind River, a stylish and suspenseful thriller from director Taylor Sheridan (the screenwriter of Sicario and Hell or High Water) that benefits as much from its evocative wintry landscapes as from its strong performances and its layered murder mystery.

The film takes place on a rural reservation in western Wyoming, where a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracker named Cory (Jeremy Renner) — he “hunts predators,” he says — discovers the dead body of a teenage girl who apparently was raped.

Still reeling from a series of personal setbacks, Cory has ties to the tribal community, and begins asking questions along with the local lawman (Graham Greene). Then an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) arrives to launch an investigation that becomes bogged down in bureaucratic red tape over jurisdictional disputes between federal, county, and tribal authorities.

Nevertheless, their combined persistence brings them into contact with some seedy folks who inhabit the surrounding lands, including the victim’s family and some oil-rig workers with questionable ethics.

Taken on its own, the plot — which apparently is inspired by true events — doesn’t add up to much. Yet the atmospheric touches elevate the proceedings, as Sheridan immerses you in a world in which winter lasts almost year-round, where the primary mode of transportation is a snowmobile, and where lingering hostility toward outsiders often causes frontier justice to rule.

Although the timeframe is contemporary, it feels like a throwback to simpler times, without the intrusion of technology or big-city chaos. There’s an authenticity to the film’s depiction of life on the reservation, with its socioeconomic volatility and harsh climate proving both daunting and isolating.

Sheridan’s character-driven approach yields some top-notch portrayals, with Renner demonstrating his versatility as a loner whose emotions remain largely internalized. Meanwhile, Greene is terrific, and so is Gil Birmingham as the grieving father of the victim.

Provocative without turning heavy-handed, Wind River is deliberately paced but gradually ratchets up the tension. Even as it shifts toward more conventional Tarantino-style melodrama in the brutal final act, the film downplays the narrative specifics in favor of more textured chills dictated by its setting.

 

Rated R, 107 minutes.

Capsule reviews for Aug. 4

Four Days in France

More reliant on mood than traditional storytelling, this deliberately paced oddity follows a gay man (Pascal Cervo) who abandons his lover (Arthur Igual) one morning in favor of an odyssey across the French countryside — prompted by social media — during which he meets various eccentrics. What the film lacks in narrative coherence and momentum, rookie director Jerome Reybaud compensates with a layered character study about sexuality and fulfillment, an incisive glimpse into its bucolic setting, and a sometimes playful examination of technology’s influence on relationships. Bolstered by Cervo’s performance, the result is intriguing if meandering, with its adventure providing a few unexpected turns along the way. (Not rated, 141 minutes).

 

Fun Mom Dinner

There’s not much fun to be had by anyone else, either on screen or off, with this thinly sketched addition to the subgenre of raunchy comedies about girls behaving badly. This installment finds four suburban mothers bonding over a night of cutting loose from the daily routine that includes plenty of weed, booze, mischief and wandering eyes, while their husbands and children bungle around at home. The familiar concept produces some scattered laughs (with a Paul Rudd cameo providing a highlight), but it’s neither edgy nor sincere enough to make an emotional impact. The spirited cast includes Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, Katie Aselton and Bridget Everett. (Rated R, 81 minutes).

 

Kidnap

Halle Berry is much better at driving than she is at parenting in this lackluster child-abduction thriller. Berry plays Karla, a single mother locked in a custody battle when her 6-year-old son (Sage Correa) is kidnapped in a crowded city park, sending Karla into a frantic vigilante quest — behind the wheel of a red minivan — to find him. The resulting cat-and-mouse struggle tests her resiliency and resourcefulness. As directed by Luis Prieto (Pusher), the film is meant to pay tribute to the power of maternal instincts, but while Karla is a tough-minded heroine, the ill-conceived script lacks common sense and gradually becomes totally detached from reality. (Rated R, 94 minutes).

 

Some Freaks

What seems like an ordinary teenage comedy about cliques and bullying on the surface is actually a modestly perceptive and touching glimpse into the ways in which we transition from adolescence into adulthood. Specifically, it follows a pair of outcast classmates who fall in love — a boy with one eye (Thomas Mann) and an overweight goth girl (Lily Mae Harrington). After heading off to college, they struggle to keep their friendship together when their priorities change. The character-driven screenplay by rookie director Ian McDonald puts a fresh spin on familiar material and mostly sidesteps clichés, while the actors generate sympathy in the film’s quieter moments. (Rated R, 97 minutes).

 

Step

You don’t have to be an aficionado of the art form known as stepping to find the crowd-pleasing appeal in this documentary about the female step team at an inner-city Baltimore charter school that becomes a safe haven for teenagers amid volatility in their families and community. It explores the influence of social unrest in Baltimore on the girls and their routines, which galvanizes a turnaround in the fledgling program. But rookie director Amanda Lipitz smartly keeps her focus behind the scenes, allowing us to root less for the team to grab a competition trophy and more for the steppers to graduate to a better life. (Rated PG, 82 minutes).

Atomic Blonde

With so much style and attitude to spare, Atomic Blonde maintains an infectious level of kinetic energy even if won’t exactly tax the brain.

This ultraviolent espionage thriller approaches sensory overload as it follows a female secret agent caught up in a web of deception and betrayal while taking out bad guys with almost video-game precision.

Taking place in the days prior to the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, the film follows Lorraine (Charlize Theron), who refuses to trust anyone while able to match brains and brawn with just about any of the male adversaries she encounters.

Her latest mission for British intelligence, told mostly in flashback to her superiors in London, finds her in Germany, trying to retrieve a valuable dossier with compromising information about MI6 from the hands of a Russian defector (Eddie Marsan) and various henchmen.

Along the way, Lorraine cautiously finds allies in David (James McAvoy), a fellow agent with loose-cannon tendencies, and Delphine (Sofia Boutella), an alluring French operative whose lesbian advances toward Lorraine seem to have ulterior motives.

Theron’s charismatic performance puts a feminist spin on 007 territory as the strong and sultry action heroine who whispers and mumbles most of her dialogue, preferring to let her fists and feet do the talking.

Meanwhile, the ubiquitous 1980s pop soundtrack provides a pulsating rhythm while capturing a nostalgic era of boom boxes and break dancing. In one amusing sequence, Nena’s “99 Luftballons” (fun fact: originally conceived as a German antiwar anthem) serenades the beating of a random thug to a bloody pulp with a skateboard. Another example features Lorraine systematically bludgeoning a whole building’s worth of East Germans, set to George Michael’s “Father Figure.”

As directed by rookie David Leitch (a former stuntman who served as a co-director on John Wick), the film’s dazzling array of vibrant color schemes and camera movements provides some over-the-top eye candy.

Amid its backdrop of political volatility, the screenplay by Kurt Johnstad (300) — based on a British graphic novel — yields a few mildly intriguing twists but mostly is just a functional bridge between the barrage of brutal action scenes.

So Atomic Blonde is ultimately an exercise in spectacle over substance. Still, even if the well-choreographed fights, chases and shootouts don’t add up to much, they do provide quite the adrenaline rush.

 

Rated R, 115 minutes.

The Last Face

In the opening credits, The Last Face sets its tone with a statement as muddled as it is maddening, claiming that the 21st century civil wars in Liberia and Sudan are “a corruption of innocence known only through the brutality of an impossible love between a man and a woman.”

Thus begins this example of “white savior complex” at its most pandering — an ill-conceived attempt to shine a light on human-rights atrocities featuring a tone-deaf perspective that tends to exploit victims of war and oppression in favor of glorifying their outsider rescuers.

Perhaps deep down they mean well, yet the esteemed cast and director Sean Penn are better off striking this misfire from their respective resumes.

Wren (Charlize Theron) is the organizer of an agency whose relief mission lands her in Sudan, where she encounters a doctor (Javier Bardem) who also happens to be her ex-lover. Flashbacks reveal the extent of their relationship, which links to their combined efforts during another period of civil unrest in Liberia a decade earlier.

The primary focus becomes not how many lives they can save from the carnage, but whether they can rekindle their spark against such a backdrop.

Of course, to criticize the film is not to condemn the tireless courage and frequently unsung heroism of international humanitarian workers who thrust themselves into harm’s way. Nor does it mean they can’t fall in love and draw inspiration from one another. However, even as you applaud the relief efforts, you might cringe when, for example, Wren and Miguel exchange flirtatious glances while delivering the baby of a Liberian woman.

Along with its questionable ethics, the pretentious and heavy-handed screenplay tends to oversimplify conflicts. It provides minimal sociopolitical context or room for emotional investment in anyone of color — merely showing the faces of cute children caught in the crossfire does not count as character development.

Such an approach might be more tolerable if the central romance was more involving. Instead, the film is saddled with a lethargic pace, pedantic narration, overbearing score, and a surprising lack of sincerity.

Penn (Into the Wild) has proven himself as a capable filmmaker in the past, and The Last Face is technically proficient, with moments of harrowing violence. But as a provocative account of the need for aid in contemporary war-torn Africa, it’s hardly worth the price of a cup of coffee.

 

Rated R, 130 minutes.

Capsule reviews for July 28

A Family Man

Some truths about corporate greed and absentee parenting are buried deep within this superficial redemption melodrama that’s more predictable than provocative. Dane (Gerard Butler) is a cutthroat Chicago headhunter whose obsession over profit-making schemes tends to distance him from his wife (Gretchen Mol) and young son (Max Jenkins). But when the family confronts a medical crisis, Dane’s priorities are tested, along with his loyalty to his ruthless boss (Willem Dafoe). As Dane transforms from boiler-room brute to doting daddy, plenty of lessons are learned along the way, delivered with sledgehammer subtlety by Butler and rookie director Mark Williams. But he hasn’t earned our sympathy. (Rated R, 108 minutes).

 

From the Land of the Moon

Marion Cotillard can’t rescue some mediocre material in this deliberately paced French drama from director Nicole Garcia (Place Vendome) featuring some pretty scenery and not much else. Cotillard plays an unstable woman in a post-World War II small town whose romantic dreams don’t match her reality. She flees an arranged marriage by checking into a sanitarium, where she falls for an ex-soldier (Louis Garrel) who’s also a patient. However, they’re torn apart, causing her midlife crisis to resume. Instead of any meaningful exploration of mental illness, the film exploits the affliction of its protagonist for a meandering romantic melodrama with an unconvincing final-act twist. (Rated R, 119 minutes).

 

Menashe

This tender and heartfelt Yiddish drama is a gritty example of familiar themes being given fresh life within unique settings. The title character (Menashe Lustig) is a widower in Brooklyn whose refusal to quickly remarry has made him an outcast of sorts in the Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, causing him to fight for custody of his son (Ruben Niborski) from his smarmy brother-in-law (Yoel Weisshaus). Rookie director Joshua Weinstein emphasizes authenticity in the film’s setting, which benefits this low-budget if uneven examination of how rigid customs sometimes conflict with basic human emotions. Bittersweet yet charming, the result is both intimate and relatable for parents everywhere. (Rated PG, 82 minutes).

 

Person to Person

There’s a familiarity in both the setting and the structure of this low-budget ensemble drama, which intercuts five stories of relationship troubles among New Yorkers, from an eager journalist (Abbi Jacobson) tracking a murder case to a jazz aficionado (Bene Coopersmith) chasing down a rare vinyl record. The approach is grounded in gritty realism, but while it manages some scattered moments that are both amusing and affecting, the disjointed film doesn’t yield much of a cumulative effect because its stories don’t really intersect. It’s essentially five shorts cut together, with some segments better than others. The cast includes Michael Cera and Philip Baker Hall. (Not rated, 84 minutes).

 

Strange Weather

Holly Hunter’s committed performance and an evocative depiction of life in the blue-collar Mississippi Delta region can’t quite rescue this earnest melodrama about guilt and redemption from its formulaic trappings. Hunter plays a college administrator facing job uncertainty while still mourning the suicide of her adult son six years ago. As she sets out on a cathartic odyssey with a friend (Carrie Coon) to get some answers, a revelation about one of her son’s friends fuels a desire for revenge. The screenplay by director Katherine Dieckmann (Diggers) is a heartfelt and modestly poignant examination of maternal grief, yet it’s consistently undermined by plot mechanics and clichés. (Rated R, 92 minutes).

Dunkirk

Copyright: © 2017 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

TOM HARDY as Farrier in the Warner Bros. Pictures action thriller “DUNKIRK,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon

There’s a scene in Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR where a distant wave on an exoplanet crests hundreds of feet above sea level.  The tension of this moment builds and builds until the crewed shuttle makes their narrow escape.   DUNKIRK begins at that crest, followed by another, and another, and another, each more terrifying than the last.  It plays like a visual translation of Holst’s “Mars: The Bringer of War”.

Brusque in my dismissals of Nolan’s past work, I see a director evolving.  With MEMENTO (2000) I had yet to be convinced that the backward chronology was more than a gimmick to conceal an otherwise mundane narrative.  In THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) and INCEPTION (2010), Nolan’s successes gave way to excesses of action and incoherent editing to further conceal an apparent distaste for cogent narratives.  Credit where credit is due, the man knew how to shoot a scene.  He just didn’t know how to connect them together properly.

Two films, THE PRESTIGE (2006) and INTERSTELLAR (2014), are exceptions in his oeuvre.  In the former, Nolan created a compelling, Dickensian noir about two rival illusionists, each grasping at immortality–metaphorical and literal.  In the latter, Nolan scored a massive international success with a drama of familial bonds disguised as science fiction paradox.

The same man who spun his grandiose ideas out of control just four years earlier told a relatable yet philosophical father-daughter story about the cosmic permanence of love.  I could even forgive the soppy dialogues, irrational female scientist, and Matt Damon, as my own beloved Ophelia¹ sat, rapt, for the last twenty-five minutes as Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) conquered space and time to return to his daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy).

Enter Nolan’s tenth feature.  In 1940 at the Battle of Dunkirk, 68,000 British and 48,000 French lives were lost.  Another 330,000 survived because of a plan enabled by the Wehrmacht’s so-called Halt Order, giving Allied forces three days to stage Operation Dynamo—a massive evacuation.

Reportedly, Nolan and his wife, producer Emma Thomas, started writing the story after traversing the English channel by boat, learning about the historic defeat on the shores of France.  He spent the last twenty-five years polishing and paring down that script to just seventy-five pages of slug lines and sparse, almost nonexistent dialogue.

DUNKIRK, shot in a combination of IMAX and Panavision 65mm, dramatizes the battle in a triptych on land, sea, and in the air.  The film opens on five soldiers, including Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), barely surviving a shelling in the city.  Their commanding officer dead, they scramble aimlessly across the Maginot line until one reaches the shore where thousands of troops are being evacuated on destroyers and medical frigates, many carried out on stretchers.

From here, the three perspectives are intercut:  1. Tommy attempts to board a doomed frigate.  2. Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his son join other affluent civilians on yachts, enroute to aid in the massive evacuation.  3. RAF Pilot Farrier³ (Tom Hardy) and his wingmen give air cover to the evacuees.

If Hoyte van Hoytema’s visual story interprets Holst, apropos that Hans Zimmer’s score steers clear of the kind of cacophonous bombast that Spielberg might commission from John Williams.  Instead, his amorphous swell rises sparingly, precisely when it must.  The effect is like the atonal, orchestral crescendos in The Beatles “A Day in the Life”.  Then, he rests us gently back down, like Farrier’s plane coming ashore, in the arms of a new derivative of Elgar’s “Nimrod” from the Enigma Variations.

And it’s just like that.  Amidst the crests and troughs of the battle sequences, the images tell us of the Dawson’s war-hardened shrewdness and personal tragedies; of Farrier’s unflinching trust in his wingmen as he takes down five², perhaps six, Messerschmitt Me-109’s in his Supermarine Spitfire with its roaring, Rolls Royce Merlin engine; and Tommy’s epiphany as an elderly man hands him a blanket.  His shipmate, Alex (Harry Styles) remarks snidely, “All we did was survive.”

The man, a veteran likely blinded during the Great War, replies, “That’s enough.”

There’ll be endless editorials about the 70mm film shoots, in-camera/practical fx, the live extras, the real planes and ships, but DUNKIRK’s triumph owes to the simplicity of the finished product, not the complexity of the technical inputs.  That masterful distillation is the piece that Nolan has finally brought under his command.

Footnote: The AMC IMAX where they screened the film made an absolute mess of the sound, which I expected.  I suspect that the 70mm presentation I’m seeing this weekend at LOOK Cinemas Prestonwood will be much more tightly managed.


  1. Ophelia is a dog.  She loves watching science fiction with daddy.
  2. This is perhaps based on the feat of 605th RAF Squadron Leader Archibald “Archie” McKellar, who shot down five Bf-109’s in a day during the Battle of Britain.
  3. The British surname Farrier is of French origin vis-à-vis the Norman conquest of 1066.  While it means “blacksmith”, its root is the French word for iron.  Either an “iron-haired” (silver-haired) ancestor or, more likely in this case, iron will.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

There’s always a lot happening in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, even if little of it seems to make sense.

Indeed, this visually ambitious science-fiction epic from French director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) values spectacle over substance, with the dazzling technical proficiency unable to compensate for a pretentious storyline that becomes lost in space.

Following a stunning opening sequence, the bulk of the film takes place in the 28th century and follows the adventures of Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner, Laureline (Cara Delevingne), who are cops charged with maintaining peaceful coexistence among humans and creatures in a distant galaxy.

Zipping between solar systems and other dimensions, their primary threat comes when they travel to Alpha, a bustling city of diversity that’s being threatened by a mysterious force. Their perilous investigation leads to encounters with a military commander (Clive Owen) whose motives are cloudy and a shapeshifting extraterrestrial (Rihanna) who masquerades as a dancer. Soon, the fate of the universe is at stake.

Besson’s vision and audacity are commendable. His big-budget array of computer-generated effects are impressive, as is his committed depiction of an imaginative futuristic world filled with elaborate cityscapes, high-tech weapons and gadgetry, travel between dimensions, and alien species both friendly and hostile.

However, his screenplay, based on an acclaimed French comic-book series, finds character development in much shorter supply amid all the surreal visual chaos. Some playful banter between the two leads is hardly sufficient to generate emotional investment.

Although Besson doesn’t cut corners, the dense narrative requires more attention than most viewers are likely to supply. “It’s our mission that doesn’t make any sense,” laments a defiant Laureline who, along with the rest of us, needs only to wait for the gap to be filled, until a couple of final-act monologues.

The result is intermittently exciting and amusing, with offbeat touches (and an eclectic supporting cast) surrounding an uneven mix of chases, shootouts, and muddled social commentary.

The film obviously is intended to launch a franchise (the realization of which will be determined by box-office performance, of course), and perhaps this installment is intended primarily to lay the groundwork for what’s to come. Whether moviegoers will agree to another intergalactic voyage with this crew is the bigger question.

 

Rated PG-13, 137 minutes.

Capsule reviews for July 21

The Fencer

Featuring lessons about both the basics of fencing and Estonia’s position in World War II, this sincere if heavy-handed Finnish drama tells the true-life story of Endel Nelis (Mart Avandi), a new physical education teacher at a small school in rural Estonia. But his upstart fencing club is jeopardized by a principal (Hendrik Toompere) with ulterior motives, various sociopolitical obstacles, and with a secret from Endel’s past that has him constantly looking over his shoulder. The film is an awkward mix of sports underdog saga and political thriller, yet even when its edges are soft instead of sharp, the crowd-pleasing result provides depth and historical insight. (Not rated, 99 minutes).

 

Girls Trip

If success is more about the journey than the destination, then this raunchy yet sentimental comedy about the bonds of sisterhood is modestly successful. Because there certainly isn’t much subtlety or surprise in this adventure of four ex-college friends who reunite for a weekend at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where chaos and debauchery ensue while the ladies deal with past wounds and rekindled friendships. It’s familiar territory for director Malcolm Lee (The Best Man), yet amuses primarily because of its scattered big laughs, unique cultural perspective, and the breezy chemistry between its stars including Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish. (Rated R, 122 minutes).

 

Killing Ground

The setup outweighs the payoff in this low-budget Australian thriller that might make you reconsider your next camping trip. The nonlinear concept follows two young families who become entangled with the sadistic perpetrators of a violent crime in the woods, with one couple becoming the victims, and the other essentially the witnesses. The screenplay by rookie director Damien Power jumbles the chronology to mostly clever effect, essentially starting parallel near the beginning and the end, and culminating in the middle. Yet that narrative strategy starts to feel like a gimmick to disguise the formulaic nature of a story that culminates in some obligatory blood and gore. (Not rated, 88 minutes).

 

Landline

The amusement is more scattered than sustained in this heartfelt comedy about a mildly dysfunctional family dealing with a philandering patriarch. It takes place in 1990s New York, where Dana (Jenny Slate) is engaged to Ben (Jay Duplass) but dealing with commitment issues, while her younger sister (Abby Quinn) discovers that their father (John Turturro) is having an affair. The lighthearted period touches of director Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child) give the material a well-defined sense of time and place. Yet in this case, the blend of raunchy comedy and darker domestic drama is awkward, becoming caught up in final-act contrivances that essentially lead to ambiguous shoulder-shrugging. (Rated R, 93 minutes).

War For The Planet Of The Apes

© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES.  Twentieth Century Fox-TM & © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

“With gorilla gone, will there be hope for man?”

In Ishmael, a novel by Daniel Quinn, a dialogue takes place between an ape and human who hash out the self-destructive history of intensive agriculture.  The gorilla, named Ishmael, questions the uniquely human, mythological conceit that we are the apex of evolutionary biology.

This is the bookend that seems to drive Matt Reeves’ final chapter in the current PLANET OF THE APES trilogy.  In the rebooted 2011 and 2014 installments of the franchise,  humans are infected by a virus engineered originally as a drug treatment to combat Alzheimer’s.  The primate test subjects of the program, however, flourished physically and mentally.  With most of humanity eradicated by the Simian Flu, the third film opens in the heat of a territorial battle between Caesar (Andy Serkis), the de facto leader of the apes, and troops under the command of his unhinged opposite, the Colonel (Woody Harrelson).

Caesar and his closest advisers conclude that they must relocate to the desert on the other side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  Harrelson’s Kurtz/Ahab archetype is obsessed with avenging the inevitable extinction of his species.  In parallel, Caesar harbors anger at humans though not to the degree his rival, Koba, did in the two films prior.  A large orangutan, Maurice (named likely for Maurice Evans, a.k.a. Dr. Zaius, in the 1968 original) reflects that they failed to understand just how much darkness Koba still carried within him.  The third chapter reminds me of the triumph of Spike Lee’s DO THE RIGHT THING, of which Roger Ebert observed, “a movie about race in America that empathized with all the participants.”  Replace “race” with “species” and there you have it.

Occasionally the imagery and the score rise above the limits of cinematographer Michael Seresin’s and composer Michael Giacchino’s repertoire, e.g. when Caesar leads a small group across a beach to a military fortification as the sun glistens off the water–the music, the imagery and the story forming a contrapuntal scene composition.  However, the real feat of Reeves’ APES is in its character arcs.  We’ve been trained to think Caesar is noble, Koba is flawed, and the Colonel is evil.  The truth is that Caesar is flawed, Koba is a victim, and the Colonel is weak.

Reeves’ film muses over a self-evident truth about protagonists and antagonists: we all begin with intentions we believe to be right.  If you know where PLANET OF THE APES (1968) begins, then you know where the Simian Flu takes the story.  If you don’t: A mute child, whom the apes later name Nova (Amiah Miller), bridges the gap of understanding between the Colonel and Caesar.  How she does so, I will not reveal.

In the middle chapter, Caesar’s prejudices blinded him to the betrayals by his own kind.  We see both men haunted by their mistakes:  Caesar has nightmares of Koba, darker than I would have imagined.  We probably overlook the Colonel’s anguish, both because of the way he caricaturizes himself to create a fearsome image, and because of how recreational and self-medicating use of alcohol permeates our own culture.  There all the time, we may not immediately recognize that the Colonel is, in fact, an alcoholic drowning in the sorrow of his own personal tragedy.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES closes metaphorically where Quinn’s Ishmael begins, “With man gone, will there be hope for gorilla?”