Wild, Wild Country
Clear your weekend schedule: if the early word from this year’s Sundance film festival has any merit to it, this could be the first truly must-binge series of 2018. Produced by the Duplass brothers and directed by Chapman and Maclain Way, this six-hour mega-documentary centers on the tragic and shocking story of a 1980s free-love commune gone horribly wrong. When the hippie followers of an Indian guru buy a stretch of land in rural Oregon to found their own DIY utopia, the area’s conservative ranchers react with fear and suspicion (this is in the wake of the Jonestown massacre, after all). Eventually, their feud spirals out of control into a wild melee that garnered national attention—and intervention. By diving into the moral muck of the situation, the Way brothers challenge contemporary preconceptions of religious freedom, small-town intolerance, and federal authority. Premieres March 16; netflix.com.
This year’s Oscar race may be over, but if you want one more hit of prestige costume drama before the summer blockbuster season starts, here’s the film for you. Adapted from British playwright R.C. Sherriff’s 1928 stage play—which follows a group of young British soldiers as they suffer the profound physical and existential traumas of life in the trenches during World War I—this latest version assembles a platoon of great young British actors: Asa Butterfield, Sam Claflin, and Tom Sturridge form the core trio, with an assist from formidable veterans Toby Jones and Paul Bettany. Though Journey’s End has been adapted many times before, this version has earned generous critical praise—a testament to both director Saul Dibb’s craft and the cast’s indubitable talent. In theaters March 16; fluidityfilms.co.uk.