This morning Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn urged me to catch The Keeping Room, an allegedly thrilling Civil War melodrama that could be described as female-centric Straw Dogs meets an expansion of that scene in Gone With The Wind when Scarlett O’Hara shoots that grizzled Union soldier in the face. It screens tonight at 7:45 pm. Kohn’s review calls it “an artful period drama and first-rate thriller” and “smarter than it looks.” But I’m concerned by two sentences. One, “The violent incursions in the concluding 45 minute stretch don’t always dodge cliches.” And two, “The two men hankering to rape and pillage the farm come across in more simplistic terms — as scowling villains with no motivation other than sheer lunacy.” Why do any villains have be ape-crazy and frothing at the mouth? I hate this kind of comic-book writing. People are people, and they have their reasons. Hunger, greed, lust…whatever. No motivation = a hack screenwriter who can’t cut the mustard. But let’s not pre-judge. I’ll catch it this evening and see what’s what. Here’s David Rooney’s review in The Hollywood Reporter.

(l. to r.) Muna Otaru, Hailee Steinfeld, Brit Marling in The Keeping Room. Heavy blood stains on garments tend to have a brownish tint, no?