Jefferson White of Yellowstone co-stars in the neo-western thriller based on a short story by James Lee Burke.
Thandiwe Newton of Westworld stars as a Montana college professor who is driven to extremes when neighbors refuse to acknowledge her boundaries in God’s Country, a suspenseful neo-western thriller set to open in theaters Sept. 16.
Jefferson White of Yellowstone co-stars in the drama, which was directed and co-written by Julian Higgins, and is based on the James Lee Burke short story “Winter Light.”
Newton plays Sandra Guidry, a professor who left bad memories and unbearable pressures associated with her previous profession in the big city to live and work in a rural college town. One morning, she sees a mysterious red truck parked in her driveway, and discovers the vehicle belongs to a pair of local hunters (White and Joris Jarsky) seeking to enter the forest behind her secluded home. Sandra turns them away politely but firmly — her experience tells her these are not the sort of guys to welcome freely into her world. But they won’t take no for an answer, triggering a relentlessly escalating battle of wills that even the local acting sheriff (Jeremy Bobb) is ill-equipped, and unwilling, to defuse.
When God’s Country premiered last January at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Star film critic Peter Howell hailed it as one of the festival’s finest offerings. “This ain’t Straw Dogs,” he wrote, “it’s Iron Woman. There’s righteous ferocity from Thandiwe Newton, who delivers a career-peak performance as a fearless college professor in red state back country. All she wants to do is live quietly in her woodland cottage. Redneck hunters who trespass on her turf don’t take kindly to orders from a city slicker, least of all a Black one, but they picked the wrong woman to mess with. Julian Higgins’ auspicious feature debut employs genre violence to make social revolution explosively real. ‘Sometimes it feels like things never change,’ Newton’s character, Sandra, tells her students. ‘But I promise you they do. They have to.’ Rest assured she doesn’t just talk the talk.”