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Jericho Ridge Review: Sheriff Survival Thriller

A Black policewoman holds a gun pointing it at someone in the film Jericho Ridge

Nikki Amuka-Bird’s powerful performance holds her audience captive in Jericho Ridge, a suspenseful siege thriller that does the genre proud.

Director: Will Gilbey
Genre: Siege thriller, Action
Run Time: 97′
US Release: June 29, 2023
UK Release: April 25-29, 2024
Where to watch: in UK cinemas; globally on digital & VOD

Jericho Ridge has a small-town feel but big movie energy, with Nikki Amuka-Bird stealing the show in this last-person standing spectacular. When her colleagues set off on a murder investigation, crutch-bound Deputy Tabby Temple (Amuka-Bird) is resigned to hobble around the precinct as a reluctant dispatch operator… but good action often comes to those who wait.

Her evening starts off with a series of pedantic calls from local busybody, Pam De Luca, while babysitting her wayward son (Zack Morris) and a wife-beater locked in the cells (Michael Socha). Little does she know, Tammy is about to find herself in the eye of the storm when a drug cartel holds the small-town sheriff’s office under siege for unknown reasons. To make matters worse, the handyman who promptly arrives to fix the broken security is less locksmith and more locked-n-loaded. Armed with nothing more than a dodgy revolver, it’s up to Deputy Temple to keep the bad guys at bay and uphold the strong arm of the law (all with a weak ankle of the law).

Writer and debut director Will Gilbey knows all about fighting under siege. The first draft of Jericho Ridge was written way back in 2017 but managed to survive onslaughts in the form of multiple rewrites, COVID-19 lockdowns, and changes to production. What remains should be a confused piece of sub-par action entertainment, but Jericho Ridge, much like its protagonist, manages to defy the odds. The script is cleverly woven to balance the need for intensity and suspense with strong character development. The use of call-backs to explain information that lies right under the audience’s nose is particularly impressive – including Deputy Tammy Temple’s broken ankle and mysterious demotion.

A white cop points a gun at a man with raised hands in the darkness  in the film Jericho Ridge
Jericho Ridge (Silver Lining Productions)

But the cinematography is where Jericho Ridge truly shines. A siege thriller lives and dies by the quality of its action sequences, and Ruairí O’Brien provides an 88-minute blood transfusion to keep the Jericho Ridge heart beating. The film is largely set in one location (the Sheriff’s Office), and O’Brien throws a rat-tat-tat array of gripping shots and angles, almost mimicking the volley of lead pummelled into the walls of the precinct itself. The lighting and visceral kill shots are of the quality of a film with ten times the budget of Jericho Ridge. Set in an unnamed American state and shot in Kosovo, the audience feels just as captive as the characters on screen, and that is a testament to Gilbey and his team.

Siege thrillers have been an untapped commodity of late in Hollywood, but Jericho Ridge proves there is still a place for the genre on the big screen. Self-aware enough to give the audience something fresh combined with creature comforts, we are treated to more than a few action tropes – including guns with seemingly infinite ammo and cavalry that arrive mere seconds after a frenetic climax. Sit back, relax, then sit a little bit further forward and enjoy the ride!

Get it on Apple TV

Jericho Ridge was released in UK cinemas on April 25, 2024 and on Digital Download from April  29. In the US, the film is now available to watch on digital and on demand.

Jericho Ridge: Trailer (Strike Media)

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