Monday, July 20, 2015

Slow West

How many westerns can you name where the lead character isn't a gunfighter, sheriff, rancher, farmer, or outlaw? Written and directed by John Maclean, Slow West stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as Jay Cavendish who has arrived in the new world and headed west in search of the love of his life (Caren Pistorius) who fled her homeland with her father (Rory McCann) following an unfortunate accident which makes their return to Scotland impossible.

The far-too-trusting Jay is encountered by bounty hunter Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender) who offers his services to keep the young man alive (while failing to state his real reasons for doing so involve the $2,000 reward on father and daughter). Over the film's 84-minute running time the pair meet an odd assortment of characters and get into a few scrapes that, along with flashbacks to Scotland, begin to inform the audience of the tragedy surrounding Jay and his crusade.

Slow West is an odd film with no illusions to the mystery or legends of the Old West even as it fills the screen with an assortment of unusual characters and unexpected situations such as Jay and Silas happening to run into a three-piece French band performing a song in the middle of nowhere that speaks directly to the film's themes. It's a hard journey for Jay who fights to keep his optimistic view of the world which Silas may scoff at, while wondering how Jay has made it all the way to Colorado without his gullibility getting him killed, but also grows increasingly envious and respectful of. It's an interesting dichotomy given the fate of each character on finally reaching their destination.

Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a digital copy of the film, a short behind-the-scenes featurette, and deleted scenes.

[Lionsgate, Blu-ray $24.99 / DVD $19.98]

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