Movie Review: Sweet Virginia (2017)

Starring: Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott and Imogen Poots

Directed by: Jamie M. Dagg

A former rodeo champion turned motel manager befriends a young man from out of town who has committed violent crimes which have gripped the small community.

Sweet Virginia started off reasonably well with some rather explosive violence as out of towner Elwood (Christopher Abbott) arrives and instantly causes mayhem killing three men from the community. While he makes it look like a robbery so he slips into his new surroundings unnoticed he befriends his motel manager Sam Rossi (Jon Bernthal) who was a former rodeo champion back in Virginia. After the initial 10 drama packed minutes the movie just went downhill rapidly and was never able to recover. It became extremely dull and boring as nothing much really happened until the final 10 minutes where another little exciting piece of violence occurred but everything in between these 2 violent acts was borderline atrocious.

I usually enjoy watching Jon Bernthal as he’s featured and performed well in movies such as Fury and Snitch amongst others but here he was quite hard to understand as he mumbled through most of his lines. When I’m watching a movie on the train to work I tend to have the subtitles on and lucky I did otherwise Jon Bernthal’s lines would’ve been one big incoherent mess. Christopher Abbott as Elwood was fairly decent but stood head and shoulders above the rest of the cast mainly because everybody else was awful and failed to really add anything redeemable to the movie. I also didn’t understand the point in adding motel manager Sam Rossi’s altercation with a troublesome customer. With a disturbance in one of the rooms, Rossi keeps checking in and a scuffle ensues but then nothing ever happens afterwards as there’s no resolution which settles their squabble and I was left scratching my head as to why the altercation was included in the first place.

One thing I found ludicrously stupid was revealing the big twist right at the beginning as it absolutely ruined any drama or mystery that could’ve been created throughout the film. After watching the movie and seeing the poor fade out style ending I just looked back at what could’ve been if Lila’s (Imogen Poots) hidden secret was kept a secret to the audience until the very end and not revealed in the first quarter of an hour, a failed possibility to make this movie remotely interesting.

Overall, Sweet Virginia is a movie that sounded quite watchable from the little blurb provided on Netflix but in reality was a big waste of time and extraordinarily boring.


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