Low-budget war drama has diversity, violence, language.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Red Snow is a drama set in Afghanistan and Canada, about a Gwich'in-Canadian soldier, Dylan (Asivak Koostachin), who is captured by the Taliban. Played against a backdrop of war and persecution, there is some violence and language. But the movie also examines themes such as family, love, and overcoming differences across both cultures. There is strong representation of minority and repressed cultures, which include a Gwich'in-Canadian community and a Pashtun family in Afghanistan. While female characters do not feature heavily among the main cast, it is acknowledged how women in both cultures are judged more harshly than men, threatened, and oppressed. Violence features throughout, in keeping with the wartime setting. There are beatings, shootings, bloody deaths, and injury. A woman is seen self-harming, which eventually leads to her death. A young couple who are in love are heavily criticized for their romantic relationship. There is some kissing and sleeping in the same bed, but nothing graphic and no explicit sex scenes. There is some swearing -- used in scenes of heightened tension to express characters' anger and fear -- including variants of "f--k."
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What's the Story?
RED SNOW follows a Gwich'in-Canadian soldier, Dylan (Asivak Koostachin), who is captured by the Taliban when fighting in Afghanistan. The movie takes us back through Dylan's past as he remembers his home community, and follows his and a local family's attempt to escape the Taliban.
Is It Any Good?
Writer-director Marie Clements deserves recognition for attempting to tell a bold story about the parallel lives of characters thrown together from different worlds. Unfortunately, there's not much in Red Snow that doesn't come across as heavy-handed and predictable, with characters relaying exposition-heavy dialogue to one another while the story creeps forward around them.
The movie's set pieces are effective. The audience is drawn into the all-too-real world of everyday conflict inside a war zone, trapped with characters that are scared for their lives, and act accordingly. What is surprising for a film from an accomplished playwright like Clements, is that it's the longer, more static scenes of lengthy dialogue where the movie drags the most. The constant, repetitive flashbacks also slow things down further. The final, disorientating climax injects some much-needed pace and urgency, before a rushed conclusion results in a quick, flat ending.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the impact of war in Red Snow. How was it portrayed? Did it seem like a realistic portrayal? How to talk to kids about violence, crime, and war.
Discuss the Gwich'in-Canadian characters. How much did you know about this First Nation people, their language, and their culture? Did you find it interesting? Would you like to learn more?
Talk about the parallels between Dylan's life and Aman's, including the divides within their families, their losses, and how they are treated by Western governments? What does this tell you about different people from different cultures?
Discuss the character of Khatira. What character strengths did she display? How did she defy how women were expected to behave under Taliban rule? Did you find her courage inspiring?
Talk about the language used in the movie. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the story?
- On DVD or streaming: March 16, 2021
- Cast: Asivak Koostachin, Shafin Karim, Mozhdah Jamalzadah
- Director: Marie Clements
- Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 22, 2023
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