The Cow Image

The Cow

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | March 16, 2022

SXSW FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! Writer/director Eli Horowitz dashes your presumptions of the old school’s condition in his magnificent debut The Cow. Kath (Winona Ryder) and her boyfriend Max (John Gallagher Jr.) drive hours out of the bay area to a secluded cabin in the woods. At one point, they have to stop to get Max’s beloved limited edition hat which flew out the car window. When they get to the cabin, they find a younger couple already there, saying they rented the same house online as well. Al (Owen Teague) tells them to split, but Greta (Brianne Tju) says it’s okay to share the place with Kath and Max for the night. Kath calls it a night early and leaves the group to stay up with beer and board games.

She wakes up the next morning to find no one in the house. Instead, Kath finds Al weeping in the woods, telling her that Max and Greta hooked up and left together. Kath is heartbroken but then finds Max’s beloved limited edition hat. Back in the city, Kath has still not heard from Max and tries to find out more about Greta. She ends up calling Barlow (Dermot Mulroney), the cabin owner, to try to get Greta’s contact information.

“…a series of flashbacks of Max’s shenanigans reveals what happened to him…”

While attempting trickery to get the important info, Kath discovers Barlow was a genius bio-engineer who turned his back on fame and fortune when his father died. The disease that claimed his dad is genetic, so Barlow dropped out of society to find a cure not to meet the same fate. As the two work together to find Greta and Max, they start warming up to each other. Meanwhile, a series of flashbacks of Max’s shenanigans reveals what happened to him and what exactly Kath is walking into.

The Cow fits perfectly into the Revenge of Generation X cinematic movement that started with the John Wick movies. These films allow the freshly middle-aged a looking glass darkly to reflect how pissed some in society are. By allowing these heroes back onscreen in potent roles, the old school vanguard (of which I am a proud member) has a voice in the theater again — a loud, screaming one. With a career that ignited with Beetlejuice and exploded with Heathers, Ryder was Generation X movie royalty by the early 90s. It was painful to see the waning of her star power. But, now that Stranger Things brought her back from the void, how does Ryder do in the lead role?

The Cow (2022)

Directed: Eli Horowitz

Written: Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby

Starring: Winona Ryder, Dermont Mulroney, John Gallagher Jr., Brianne Tju, Owen Teague, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

The Cow Image

"…the third act is really weird."

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