‘Winter In The Blood‘, directed by Alex and Andrew J. Smith, is a film is about a confused Native American searching for his future while haunted by his past. Inspired by the book, written by James Welch, that took place in the Montana Native American reserves, fans of the book were impressed by the filmmaker’s adaptation. A difficult book filled with complications, screenwriters Alex Smith, Andrew J. Smith, and Ken White, put on the big screen one man’s journey and his troubles with not knowing everything.
The story follows Virgil First Raise (Chaske Spencer) stuck in the past during changing times. Seeking something to fill the emptiness within, Virgil keeps remembering his past because of guilt and fear, but his loneliness is the umbrella that keeps him afloat at times. The story is, at times, tough to watch because of the roughness our protagonist must endure, and the first half of the movie that could have been condensed. With the pacing of the story so slow, the images and shots attempt to fill the space, giving the film an overall empty feel. From loss to life, from confused anger to calm understanding, the Virgil’s arc completes itself and, at the end of the film, there is a satisfaction that is achieved through his interactions with the people in his life.
Filled with racial tension, guns, cowboys, and love in different forms, this film is a lot like ‘No Country For Old Men‘ (2007) mixed with a very lamely scripted Discovery channel special on rural society during past times. The acting, characters, and story were all bland, though there was a fake-out ending (an ending where audiences would have been happy with, but more follows) and a glimmer of hope for Virgil that transcended through each of his situations. Making up for the slow storytelling, the color, camera movement, and character dynamics all worked within the small world presented to the audience. However, for me, there were too many unanswered questions and even more new questions in the end. A good effort, however misguided, and worth a watch for fictional history likers.