Sweet Virginia      review by Bobby Blakey

Jon Bernthal has been on a huge role over the last few years. While he has been around for a while he got his biggest break on The Walking Dead and most recently in his gritty turn as Marvel’s The Punisher. Now he is taking on a different kind of role with his latest film Sweet Virginia co-starring Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, and Rosemarie DeWitt, but does it offer up something that stands out or will it not be worth checking in for?

Sweet Virginia follows a former rodeo star, with a small time life who unknowingly starts a rapport with a young man who is responsible for the violence that has suddenly gripped his small town. Every character from his loved ones to his business patrons, plays a part in the unravelling of this community. Our aged hero must face his relationships of past and present to come up against this unpredictable predator. Going in I knew nothing about this film which is often a good thing that allows you to see it with fresh eyes. This is one of those films that offers up some truly great performances, but isn’t always as streamlined as it needs to be. Bernthal offers up a gritty yet subtle performance that knocks it out of the park from beginning to end. He carries this movie every time he is on screen bringing the much needed presence to the role.

Christopher Abbott is a standout here bringing a darkness to his violent character while still making him strangely likable at times. The first moment you see him on screen you are shown of what dangers he has to offer and it never lets up until the very end. While the rest of the cast offer up some good performances its Bernthal and Abbott who move it along despite it being really slow. The pacing is where this film struggles a bit. It feels way longer than it should and although there is some action here and there it serves as more of character piece than anything else.

I enjoyed this movie, but was a bit disappointed by the overall lack of excitement. It seemed like it was building towards something that was going to be a lot more exciting than it actually was. Make no mistake there are things happening and some pretty intense just not near as much as I expected. This is a film that will work different for everyone, so give it a try and decide for yourself.

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