EXCLUSIVE: There’s no way to understate this clip from the Sundance Western-suspense-domestic horror pic Outlaws And Angels: It’s almost two minutes of concentrated menace that even without context had me glancing for the nearest exit by the time it was over. Don’t take my word for it though, watch the exclusive clip above.
Written and directed by J.T. Mollner, the story depicts what happens when bank robbers on the run pull a home invasion on an unsuspecting frontier family, intending to hide out in their house for the night. What follows is an unexpected game of cat and mouse, along with seduction, role reversals and bloody revenge. None of the promised bloody revenge, seduction and so on are on display in this clip. Instead it’s the painfully real-feeling tension of watching very dangerous people pretending to be reasonable, promising their hostages they’ll live if they play along, but clearly not remotely above doing whatever they like should it suit their fancy.
The film is part of a wave of revivalist Westerns including The Hateful Eight, Bone Tomahawk and The Revenant that demonstrate how the Western, like all genres, really works as a way of reflecting the times in which it is made. In the case of Outlaws And Angels, the first thing this clip put into my head is the way our cultural discussion of rape has changed drastically over the last couple of decades. The second thing, however, was Byron Mann’s amazing turn as a sociopathic banker in The Big Short. Whether this film actually does end up hinting at third wave feminist themes or bitter socioeconomic realities remains to be seen, but the clip alone gets how you convey seeming helplessness in the face of ruthless abusers, and that alone has me absolutely dying to see it.
Shot entirely in 35mm on vintage Panavision cameras, (retro cameras being another thing it has in common with Hateful Eight, along with the claustrophobic setting), Outlaws And Angels premieres today during Sundance. It stars Chad Michael Murray, Francesca Eastwood, Teri Polo and Luke Wilson, and is produced by Chris Ivan Cevic, Luke Daniels, Rosanne Korenberg, and J.T. Mollner.