- Jeffery Wright gives a solid performance here. Wright’s soft somberness takes turns at points as his character finds himself in many intense situations. Wright’s performance follows the films pace perfectly and definitely helps elevate some of the scenes.
- Jeremy Saulnier takes a new turn here with his direction comparing to his previous projects, “Blue Ruin” and “Green Room”. While Saulnier’s previous projects were pulpy white-knuckle thrillers, instead here he goes for the slow burn route. Which has its bumps in the road, but in the end it comes together in its own unique way. With that being said this film is not what you might be expecting. Saulnier directs the first third of the film with a haunting elegance that comes off like some kind of ghost story. But as the film goes along unexpected twists and turns prevail the film into a new tone. Saulnier though does continue to handle deaths the same, as they never come off clean, seen heavily in the Peckinpah-esque shootout. But Saulnier’s use of violence comes with a lot of integrity, not just from the realism of it all, but the emotional and physical toll it takes on its victims. Though “Hold the Dark” lacks some of the white-knuckle tension from Saulnier’s previous work, it still continues to make the carnage count, as it forces us to experience every victim.
- The evocative cinematography by Magnus Nordenhof Jønck captures the snowy landscape to perfection. Along with Saulnier’s direction they both capture the environment very well and encapsulate the cold as well.
- Though the screenplay holds its problems, it does take some interesting choices. The decisions of no easy answers and as well embracing anticlimax, are all potent ideas that the screenplay plays with well.
- The narrative as a whole gets a little convoluted. The screenplay also in general holds most of the problems. Besides the convolutedness multiple focal characters in the film are kind of dull and there isn’t that much to them.