“The Keeping Room” is such a quiet film that I’m surprised that I didn’t ignore it. But, I’m an active viewer that seeks out films that offer alternative points of views on classic moments in American history. Two Southern women have been abandoned in their palatial home with a lone slave. Fearing attacks from rogue soldiers, they work together to find a way to keep themselves alive. When the younger woman is bitten by a raccoon, the older woman has to go into town to find a way to obtain medicine.
Meanwhile, Sam Worthington and a fellow soldier are looking for shelter and things to pillage. Before they arrive at the compound, we see that they’ve been raping and stealing everything not nailed down across the South. This leads to a siege that would almost double as a 19th century take on “Straw Dogs”. Whether the women survive or not doesn’t matter. It’s how they plan on moving past all that has gone wrong in their world.
The ending has upset tons of views, cinema snobs and others in Film Twitter. Identity politics are the topic du jour or year or whatever for every single college graduate/online scholar. But, thematically the ending makes sense. The film is about survival and the ending of an era for a culture. The slave Mad understands this and spins most of the film finding equal footing with the two young women. No matter how much others rebel against the changing status, Mad represents that the South has ended. Drafthouse Films has a real winner on their hands.
RELEASE DATE: 9/25/2015