starring Chloe Levine, Granit Lahu, Jeremy Pope, Jeremy Holm
written by Jenn Wexler, Giaco Furino
directed by Jenn Wexler
by Walter Chaw Jenn Wexler's hyphenate debut is anchored by a tremendous performance from Chloe Levine--good enough that it peanut-butters over some of The Ranger's thematic gaps, its troubles with pacing and its identity crisis. The picture opens well, with a group of punks--of which Levine's Chelsea is a reluctant member--raising hell and eventually killing a cop. Chelsea takes her buddies to her uncle's cabin to hide. We're introduced to the cabin in the film's prologue as a stolid Ranger (Jeremy Holm) comforts young Chelsea (Jete Laurence) about something terrible while she nibbles on a sandwich. He compares her to a wolf, because she's "a fighter." Once removed from the urban environment, Chelsea finds her pals obnoxious: smoking inside, setting fires, painting trees, and generally being disrespectful of the woods in which she was raised. Her boyfriend, Garth (Granit Lahu), is especially the kind of lost youth who desperately deserves to get drop-kicked into a canyon.