Set near the end of the American Civil War, The Keeping Room follows the story of two sisters and an African-American slave as they defend themselves and their home from two Confederate Army deserters.
Brit Marling’s Augusta rides to a local shop, where the shopkeeper warns her that this place is dangerous for her and that she should leave. An altercation is implicated between Augusta and Sam Worthington’s character, from which she flees back to her home and her sister (played by Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld). With the arrival of the threatening deserters, the sisters and a slave (played by Muna Otaru) must prepare to fight back against their attackers. Augusta warily points a loaded shotgun around the dark house, Steinfeld’s Louise tries to stifle her fearful sobs, Otaru’s character’s hand shakes as she tries to shush the young girl and aim a gun at the closed bedroom door, Worthington’s character screams at the girls to come out of the house—the trailer’s harrowed shots set up the film to be a vengeful thriller overloaded with fear.
The trailer for the film does little to set up the reason behind this situation, but it does set the mood early on with cinematographer Martin Ruhe’s pale colors—a tone that rather makes it look like you’re watching the film through an Instagram filter. The numerous accolades the film has won are intermittently plastered across the screen, proving to be both impressive in their merits and also somewhat distracting from a viewer’s standpoint. With Academy Award nominated director Daniel Barber at the helm and a powerful cast, The Keeping Room looks to change up the Western genre with a violently feminist twist.
Left without men in the dying days of the American Civil War, three Southern women — two sisters and one African-American slave — must fight to defend their home and themselves from two rogue soldiers who have broken off from the fast-approaching Union Army.
The Keeping Room will appear in theaters for limited release on September 25, 2015.