#43 SLOW WEST
Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit Mcphee, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius and Rory McCann.
Written and directed by John Maclean. 84 minutes long.
A beautiful looking, slow as molasses, revisionary western, with excellent performances, a superb sound track and some extraordinary scenery, but which alas ultimately falls a little flat. The story sees Kodi Smit Mcphee's Jay Cavandish, the young son of landed gentry traveling to the new world in search of his first true love, Rose Ross, and her father, who fled to the new world following a terrible tragedy that sees the pair with a $2000 bounty on their heads. Jay falls under the protection of Michael Fassbender's bounty hunter, Silas Selleck and together the two men travel slow west, along the way encountering shocking violence, surreal vignettes and the crushing ennui of a long slow trek across the new continent.
Although offering nothing new, script wise, save for a Hipster sentimentality and the classic 21st century passion for American independent films about nothing, this is a film that slowly unravels its tale of young love with a terrible secret and the bonding of two men, apparently polar opposites who come together over the course of their long slow slog west. It's the sort of film where the journey is of far more interest than the destination, which when finally reached ends exactly as you were expecting and it all feels a little bit obvious and totally expected, and that's a little bit disappointing, although it doesn't make this a bad film, indeed far from it.
By using New Zealand as a substitute for America was a shred move on behalf of John Maclean as it gives the film a freshness you've not seen before in a western, there are no recognisable landscapes or features, which helps to make this land feel and look bizarrely alien in the extreme, adding yet another layer to the feel and style of this film.
This a stunning looking movie, slightly stymied by a rather obvious story.