GFF 2024: Jericho Ridge

The steely central performance from Nikki Amuka-Bird is the biggest reason to seek out Will Gilbey's tight, punchy one-location thriller Jericho Ridge

Film Review by Ross McIndoe | 09 Mar 2024
  • Jericho Ridge
Film title: Jericho Ridge
Director: Will Gilbey
Starring: Nikki Amuka-Bird, Zack Morris, Chris Reilly, Solly McLeod
Release date: 25 Apr
Certificate: TBC

Jericho Ridge stars Nikki Amuka-Bird as Tabby Temple, a small-town cop who winds up manning a police station in the middle of nowhere with only her delinquent son Monty (Zack Morris) for company. What looks like another dull night on the job turns into a desperate struggle for survival when a group of cartel killers lay siege to the station. They’ve got the numerical advantage and an arsenal of high-powered rifles; she’s got one good leg and a revolver with the wrong-sized bullets jammed inside. And yet...

Anchored by its steely central performance, Will Gilbey’s debut feature is a tight, punchy one-location thriller. It continually finds inventive ways to mix up the action and there’s a kinetic quality to the gunfights, each shot ripping through the air with catastrophic power.

Later on, Tabby delivers a dramatic monologue that tells us a little more about the life she’ll be returning to if she makes it out alive. It’s well acted but also unnecessary – Amuka-Bird’s performance is already doing so much to tell us who Tabby is that we don’t need it spelled out. The speech also adds a domestic abuse element to the story which a cooped-up action flick like this doesn’t really have the space to deal with, almost like it's ticking an imaginary 'female action hero' box rather than just letting Amuka-Bird get her John McClane on. She’s riveting, and the film is at its strongest when it just lets her cook.

Jericho Ridge has its UK premiere at Glasgow Film Festival on 9 Mar and is released 25 Apr by Strike Media