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'THE STOLEN VALLEY' REVIEW

BY ROMEY NORTON APRIL 1, 2024
The Stolen Valey

A western that women can watch. Without being too sexist, western cinema has always been tailored towards men. I have many fond memories watching Clint Eastwood on my grandads lap, and became fond of the genre through his love of it. Whilst previous films feature many women, I’ve had to bask in their backseat stereotypes. (Unless we’re happy to accept Calamity Jane as one?).


The Stolen Valley offers its viewers a classic western cinema experience with a nail biter storyline as we follow two strong female protagonists, in a constant battle of their own morality and seeking justice.


SYNOPSIS

The Stolen Valley is an independent western thriller written & directed by Jesse Edwards. The story surrounds Mexican Navajo mechanic Lupe Reyes who seeks help from the father she's never met to save her dying mother. She accidentally helps an outlaw cowgirl rob a pawn shop, and the two continue the journey together. Once they meet her estranged father, he’s not as expected and Lupe learns more than she bargained for.



REVIEW

*SPOILER WARNING*

From the get-go we’re given high drama with bull-fights, fighting and shootouts. There is also high emotion from a family whose mother is taken ill, so we quickly learn that for both our female protagonists, the stakes are high.


The Stolen Valley has some beautiful close up shots. However the cinematography can be very dark at times and whilst this adds severity to scenes, the dark shadows on the characters faces take away from their facial expressions and emotion. What also makes a western is the vast landscapes, small towns, deserts, saloons, rugged terrain and most likely a 1800’s feel. We’re brought into more modern times, but we have some beautiful aerial shots of the desert on their drive.


The Stolen Valey

At the helm is two strong female leads, opposite in nature, who compliment each other strongly throughout the film. They’re not over-played or over-dramatised, making their story and building relationship believable. They do play into classic female stereotypes; lead by desire to protect family, and searching for love and acceptance. There is also a scene where they dance to escape some men who are cashing them - it’s fun - but it’s women using their body to escape. However, they bring a beautiful balance of masculine and feminine within women; how women can be strong and sensitive, and how they can be thoughtful and reckless.


There is a political undertone, surrounding taking people's land and selling it for oil. It also heightens the American medical system as the whole story starts needing to pay medical bills.


The Stolen Valey

Unfortunately, the ending is a let-down. There’s an unnecessary, cheesy twist, and after watching two strong, determined women lead the film, to be saved by their half brother is deflating. There’s a lot of talking, and gunfire which leads to no emotional deaths. There are a few heartfelt moments at the end, which is lovely, they just needed to get there sooner.


The Stolen Valley is an emotional ride, and offers its viewers a story of friendship, self-identity, culture, and family.

STAR RATING

Rating The Stolen Valey

THE STOLEN VALLEY RELEASES ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS APRIL 15

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