The Keeping Room has large things to say about war, and how war fosters rape and dehumanization. This timely message is wielded in a blunt-force manner—so blunt that the idea becomes unintentionally sensationalized. We are in the South in 1865, as General Sherman scorches the surviving landscapes of the Civil War. Two sisters, Augusta (Brit Marling) and Louise (Hailee Steinfeld, from True Grit), remain at an isolated farmhouse—not a plantation, but not a shack, either—along with a woman they formerly treated as property, Mad (Muna Otaru). Like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, they wear their now-shabby dresses and till the soil. The crux of the movie is what happens when two moonshine-swilling Union soldiers (Sam Worthington and Kyle Soller) arrive, with rape and murder on their animalistic minds.