Eight months after debuting at Sundance ‘22, Julian HigginsGod’s Country (IFC Films, 9.16) is finally peeking out. Call it a violent sociopolitical allegory + a slow-build American gothic melodrama — patiently paced, melancholy, sparely crafted, and even thoughtful.

It’s basically about an ex-New Orleans cop (Thandiwe Newton), woke and angry, butting heads with Montana bumblefucks over a relatively minor territorial matter. And before you know it things escalate into a blood feud. Straw Dogs minus the sexual factor and the Peckinpah slow-mo. A touch of The Limey, a hint of High Plains Drifter.

Angry Thandiwe episode from early ‘22 (seven months ago, give or take):

This in turn led me to read all about a seemingly ridiculous but nonetheless intense argument that allegedly happened three or four days ago between Newton and Channing Tatum on the London set of Magic Mike’s Last Dance. A dispute about the Will Smith + Jada Smith + Chris Rock Oscar contretemps actually led to an enraged Tatum, the film’s producer-star, canning Newton and replacing her with Salma Hayek.

Who fires someone off a movie set over differing opinions about the Will Smith slapdown? If this really happened we can probably assume that Newton voiced a certain allegiance with Jada and that Tatum, whose right-leaning opinions were suggested by Dog, probably expressed a general disapproval of this whole déclassé spectacle. Woke feminist defiance vs. conservative white-guy values…something in that realm.

Insect antennae vibrations are telling me Newton’s emotional composure has recently been on the ragged edge, what with her recent marital split-up and all. Altogether a very strange episode.