Jericho Ridge


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Jericho Ridge
"This may be Will Gilbey’s first feature as director, but his background as an editor means he knows how to construct an action sequence, and he delivers one great set piece after another." | Photo: Glasgow Film Festival

Some films tell you what they’re going to be before they’ve even begun. With titles in a plump, mustard-coloured psychedelic font, with squared shots of a desolate stretch of road and a lonely sheriff’s station, Jericho Ridge immediately captures the atmosphere of a gritty Seventies thriller, promising something edgy and uncomfortable that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Unlike most works with such pretensions, it succeeds.

This is an exercise in economic filmmaking. Very little of it takes place outside the central location, and for much of the running time there’s only one character onscreen. In almost every scene, Deputy Tabby Temple (Nikki Amuka-Bird) is an awesome presence, holding the film together at the same time as she holds the fort. Walking with a crutch, she’s the one who has been left behind whilst her colleagues go out to answer calls, but when the station itself comes under attack, she’s the one who will be calling for help.

Copy picture

Right from the start, we know that this is not the most secure of places. Aside from its isolation, there’s a problem with the locks. Things haven’t been fixed when they were supposed to be. There’s no way of securing the windows and the door won’t stand up to much of a battering. There’s also something inside the station which, it gradually emerges, is worth a great deal to powerful people. As she tries to field calls from an influential local woman who likes to complain about teenagers in general and Tabby’s son in particular, our heroine is aware that her situation is getting more and more precarious, whilst assistance remains far away.

A simple story told well, Jericho Ridge also benefits from economic direction. This may be Will Gilbey’s first feature as director, but his background as an editor means he knows how to construct an action sequence, and he delivers one great set piece after another. Amuka-Bird is electric in the lead and also shows real commitment to the physical demands of the story, taking on the extra strain of moving and sometimes falling in unnatural positions because of Tabby’s broken ankle. The tension is expertly managed and despite the spareness of the scenario, Gilbey manages to find fresh sources of threat when needed to keep up the pace.

This careful construction breaks down a little towards the end when the trickier aspects of the plot need to be woven together whilst the pace of the action escalates, but by then you’ll be sufficiently invested in Tabby’s survival that it won’t matter all that much. Gilbey takes viewers on a wild ride but it’s the character work that really makes Jericho Ridge shine, and that made it one of the big hitters at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. If you go to the cinema looking for thrills, it’s one you won’t want to miss.

Reviewed on: 17 Mar 2024
Share this with others on...
Jericho Ridge packshot
A lone officer with a broken ankle fights for survival at a police station.

Director: Will Gilbey

Writer: Will Gilbey

Starring: Nikki Amuka-Bird, Zack Morris, Chris Reilly, Simon Kunz, Michael Socha, Solly McLeod, Philipp Christopher, Zachary Hart, Capital T., Aidan Kelly, Olivia Chenery, Alex Tate, Ian Virgo, Lucy Thackeray, Pippa Winslow

Year: 2023

Runtime: 87 minutes

Country: UK, Kosovo


Glasgow 2024

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Assault On Precinct 13
Cop Car