‘God’s Country’ Trailer: Thandiwe Newton Must Defend Her Land From All Sides In Julian Higgins’ Neo-Western

In God’s Country, Thandiwe Newton plays a woman who must take up arms to protect her land from poachers. It might sound like a simple premise that allows the actress to show her fierce, indomitable spirit, but considering the story is a gender and race-swapped version of James Lee Burke’s short story “Winter Light”, nothing about this film is simple.

Race and toxic Red State politics come to the forefront when moving from a white man in his forties to a Black woman from New Orleans. Newton plays Sandra, who in the wake of her mother’s death, moves to her country home in Montana for a lonely existence off the grid. But on the day of the funeral, Sandra discovers a truck parked in her driveway. It belongs to local hunters who have little respect for her property rights, much less her personal ones.

I saw God’s Country at Sundance, and admired the battle of wills that slowly builds between Sandra and the townsfolk. Sandra has a part to play in the escalation, as well, with Newton depicting her as a flawed woman who is letting her anger take control. My only real beef is a big one, as the film can’t sustain its pot-boiling nature for long enough.

The film is directed and co-written by Julian Higgins alongside Shay Ogbonna. God’s Country opens in theaters on September 16th.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.