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In this radically reimagined American Western set towards the end of the Civil War, Southerner Augusta encounters two renegade, drunken soldiers who are on a mission of pillage and violence. After escaping an attempted assault, Augusta races back to the isolated farmhouse that she shares with her sister Louise and their female slave Mad. When the pair of soldiers track Augusta down intent on exacting revenge, the trio of women are forced to take up arms to fend off their assailants, finding ways to resourcefully defend their home––and themselves––as the escalating attacks become more unpredictable and relentless.

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The Keeping Room movie full length review - A finely acted although agonizingly slow home invasion in wild west

There's a merit on doing all female leads drama thriller set on volatile era of Civil War, especially when there's social prejudice involved.

However, aside from some admittedly fine performance, the movie feels clunky and slow. It doesn't have the intricacy or characterization beyond the basic formula of "there are bad men coming", and even that takes the film about half its runtime to get the pace going.

This is the story of three women, one of whom is colored, as they defend their home from outsiders. Each woman might not be easily relatable at first, but the acting as well as decent investment time to them manage to deliver a few heavy thought provoking and intimate scenes. Brit Marling as the oldest one keeps a strong presence even though her character may be lacking in term of actual strength.

Muna Otaru as Mad, the colored housekeeper or technical maid, has a unique personality as the caretaker of the girls and also her own woman. As for the antagonist Sam Worthington makes do, he's decent but his motivation doesn't have the same focus as the girls', which means less connection to the character as he basically stumbles on the predicament he himself creates. The cinematography works by keeping an intentionally bleak and less stylish version of Wild West.

This is a deliberate pace for drama, not action or thriller. It does feel terribly slow at times, not in a good Tarantino build up style. Furthermore, there's not much cat-and-mouse cerebral standoff, which feels like a missed opportunity, especially when it could've used the setting as intense backdrop. Panic Room with Jodie Foster had trade of wit between protagonist and antagonist that created depth and utilized its premise, while here it's more of random gunslinging action.

The Keeping Room has a couple of good performances, especially geared towards heavy themes such as race prejudice and violence towards women. However, instead of putting more focus on home invasion to elevate the drama, its slow pace removes any thrill to what could've been a powerful commentary of an era and its lingering issues.