Film Review: Slow West

Into The Wild

I recently took up the chance to add to my ever-increasing film knowledge and finally, after years of them being on my “to be watched later” list, sitting down and indulging in “The Man With No Name” Trilogy, the classic Western trio of movies including The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, featuring Mr Macho himself, Clint Eastwood. Although my knowledge of “Spaghetti Western’s” in general is pretty limited to say the least, Sergio Leone’s magnum opus’s were pretty darn good and has led me to search out and broaden my horizons when it comes to this particular genre. How fate has intervened therefore with the release of Slow West this week, a action Western thriller featuring the brilliant Micheal Fassbender (Prometheus, Shame), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In) and Ben Mendelsohn (The Place Beyond the Pines) whilst being directed by first-timer John Maclean. With the limited amount of Westerns that are released in the current cinematic environment, Slow West had the opportunity to shine and bring fresh life into my newly-found genre of movies but with Clint Eastwood thoroughly in the back of my mind throughout, it had an uphill challenge from the start.

The premise of Slow West is one that is very reminiscent of the Coen Brother’s True Grit (and obviously the original, of which, I haven’t seen) whereby the hunt for the wanted is the main direction of the character’s goals with McPhee’s Jay and Fassbender’s Silas essentially being carbon copies of Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn respectively, if for a little gender change on one part. In the case of Slow West however, the hunt for the wanted is due to the absence of love in contrast to the absence of cash with Jay searching the West for his long-lost love whilst Silas constantly being at his side acting as his protector and guide. Although the film contains strong levels of action and violence throughout, it was the underlying sense of black comedic value that made it hold its’ ground so astutely, with it being very reminiscent of Joel and Ethan Coen as well as Wes Anderson, particularly in moments that could arguably be classed as entering the ground of “zany”.

The film’s bright demeanor throughout contrasted the fundamental dark tones of the movie in which murder, betrayal and violence are particularly rife, only adding credence to the notion of the films’ aim in making light of such matters by mixing in a strong comedic undertone which, for the most part, was its’ strongest moments. Fassbender is ace once again in a leading role whilst young McPhee produces a strong performance as the heartbroken teen lost in the wild. Aside from a rather predictable ending and falling on rather similar territory in terms of the Western genre, Slow West was an enjoyable addition into the Western catalogue of movies, propped up by the strong element of dark humour that was prevalent throughout.

Overall Score: 7/10 

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Posted on 25/06/2015, in Film & TV, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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