Sinaloa hitchhikes into Texas to meet Merle, her half-sister by way of their dead country musician father. As the two get to know each other, Sinaloa's chaotic influence starts to unravel Merle's quiet, comfortable life. While the family music legacy brought Sinaloa to Austin, she won't leave without taking revenge against the people who stole her daddy away years ago.
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★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
"People die; it's what they do."
★★★½ review by Leo (Willem) van der Zanden 💙 on Letterboxd
Added to: 2017 Ranked
La Barracuda is a solid psychological, broken family drama set in Austin, Texas in which a mysterious woman seeks out her halfsister and her family in order to set some things straight. She has long been roaming the countryside, past small towns to find her home but not necessarily with good intentions. From moment one we see there's something iffy about the young woman. She's beautiful, has a golden voice and a talent for playing the guitar, but she's also quiet and reserved and often bursts out with fierce anger. While slowly twisting and turning herself into the life of her half-sister, we can feel the tension rising. Bit by bit her intentions get revealed but never with a clear sight on what's to come next. It's therefore that a grand finale of sorts or a real climax stays out (though there's definitely "a scene" that opposes that idea). Instead it is more the tense and unnerving journey towards it that serves as the main focus point in La Barracuda. And this journey rests solely on the shoulders of its two leading ladies. Sophie Reid thrives on fox-like sneaking and subtlety, while her half-sis played by Allison Tolman makes perfect use of the uneasy atmosphere that hangs around them, always seeming to be in doubt, guessing but never knowing the answer to the riddle that entered her life. Combined with the prowess of the young directing duo of Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin, La Barracuda becomes an intimate film with long-lasting impact. Definitely a little gem to check out.
★★★½ review by Javier F. on Letterboxd
Very tense thriller disguising itself as a family drama.
★★★★ review by Peter Craig on Letterboxd
A family drama with a touch of suspense due to a faint undertone of dread. From the moment Sinaloa (Sophie Reid) appears it is clear that something is not right with her. The intensity of her responses when dealing with people, the look of disdain or even hatred in her eyes when no one is watching, the dark imagery in the songs she sings all forebode an emotional release that could come at any moment. So the film becomes a waiting game as tensions build to an inevitable and irreversible act of violence. Reid is excellent in maintaining the ambiguity of her character, as is Allison Tolman as Merle who desperately wants to form a connection with this new-found sister but cannot ignore an inner sense that something is wrong.
★★★★ review by seanmalin on Letterboxd
Jonathan Nastasi does it again.
And Sophie Reid, Allison Tolman, and JoBeth Williams are sensational for real.
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