HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Assassins
Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, The
Synchronic
Capote Tapes, The
Night, The
Show Goes On, The
Furnace, The
Tyrel
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
   
 
  Slow West Fool's Errand
Year: 2015
Director: John Maclean
Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius, Rory McCann, Kalani Queypo, Stuart Bowman, Tony Croft, Stuart Martin, Alex Macqueen, John Cummings, Michael Whalley, Jeffrey Thomas, Brooke Williams, Andrew Robertt
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is the 1870s and young Scots teen Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has made up his mind to travel from East to West across the United States in search of his lost love, Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius) who fled across the land with her father John (Rory McCann) to the middle of nowhere after a murder charge that both of them are now wanted for with bounties on their heads, or so it seems. Jay is more hopeful than practical, and as he wanders through a forest in Colorado he hears gunfire up ahead, so is at a loss about what to do; when an Indian runs towards him, pauses, then streaks away through the trees Jay doesn’t know he is about to have a significant encounter…

Slow West was the feature debut of former member of rock group The Beta Band, John Maclean, who had shown an interest in films for some time and finally managed to make his own, one which it must have cheered him to see receiving a warm, if modest, welcome. Taking the form of a road trip into the wilderness, it looked to have been inspired by Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, a Western that proved surprisingly influential in how the genre was approached over the decades since its release, though that said it was not so influential that it bred a whole rash of cowboy epics as by this stage the style was very much for the cultists, with only the occasional attempt at appealing to a large audience who were not as interested.

Therefore all the hallmarks of the arthouse Western were here, with its major star doing the production a favour by appearing, its concentration on the visual splendour of the location, its bursts of violence and generally existentialist tone, as if the further into to the country you got, the less the normal rules applied, leaving a sense of making your own destiny rather than any outside forces helping you alone. And if you didn’t have a destiny, you drifted. That star in this instance was Michael Fassbender, an outlaw turned opportunist and bounty hunter called Silas Selleck who deliberately meets up with Jay in the forest, as characters had a habit of tracking other folks down in this film even when there was no apparent way they could have known where they were to such a degree of accuracy.

That was simply something you had to accept, though as Slow West was made in some stunning New Zealand scenery you could just as easily wallow in that for the relatively brief running time, as Maclean demonstrated a real eye for the striking imagery and how to best present it. Concentrating on the plot might not be quite as rewarding, for that was more of a picaresque and a glum one at that, albeit with flashes of absurdist humour, contrasting the beauty of the countryside with the frequent savagery of the people who inhabited it – early on the hunter chasing the Indian calls him a savage, but we can see most of these individuals would be well described by that epithet as well. In fact, the only character who might be described as anywhere near civilised would be Jay.

And the trouble with him is that he’s hopelessly unequipped to deal with the life in the Wild West, with only his blind faith in Rose to keep him going, something that proves foolish in itself when we see in flashbacks that she was happy to treat him as a little brother rather than anyone she would be romantically interested in. Smit-McPhee’s Scottish accent was rather excellent, refreshingly, and he made an interesting pairing with the more capable Fassbender, who essayed a more traditional man of the West role with grim-faced dedication, obviously thoroughly enjoying the chance to be part of a genre he had been a fan of for a while. The events that made up their journey were if anything anecdotal in the main, with bodies piling up along the way when the best way to get ahead in this environment is to pull a gun on somebody else, as nobody considers there may be a better method of succeeding out West. At the end of the movie, maybe it’s no shock to see the ruthless winning out, with a note of hope they may learn compassion. Music by Jed Kurzel.

[There are about a billion featurettes on Lionsgate's DVD, all providing background.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1511 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: