Directed : Lawrence Roeck
Written : Carlos De Los Rios and Lawrence Roeck
Starring : Scott Eastwood, Walton Goggins, Danny Glover, Adam Beech, Morris Birdyellowhead. USA. 1h 30m
Sometimes I hate being right about a movie, I predicted so much before watching this but hoped for the opposite.. But alas I was right, and if you know a fraction of anything to do with films then you will sus this movie out within seconds.
It’s been claimed that poor Scott has been sent hundreds of scripts for westerns on a monthly basis and picked out this film due to it’s unusual plot, and I can see why, it does actually tell a very interesting story and I did enjoy the crooked twist at the end but everything here is just so under powered and so much emphasis is on the main character that it becomes impossible for the movie to actually happen.
Back to the movie, a young civil war veteran Jackson (Eastwood) is awoken while his wife is being kidnapped by a bunch of bandits, as he embarks on his one man rescue mission, he finds foes, villains and killers around every corner as the lines between good and evil begin to blur, and even Jackson becomes confused about his actions as the chase intensifies and he starts gearing up for a final gun battle with the bandits.
The movie starts so well, a violent introduction as a group of masked assailants steal the beautiful bride and run off with her in the dark, the dramatic scene where Jackson is spurred on to get his wife back, at this point they should have cut to a Rambo arming himself up montage, but we move on with Eastwood tracking these evil bandits about middle America. In his desperate search he stumbles upon an array of characters, of all races, ages etc, one in particular plagues him and often finds ways of killing the people around Jackson, who is often on the run anyway and gets no peace after the ultimate evil in the guise of Ezra (Goggins) turns up, all dressed in black full on contradictions and negativity and ready to kill anyone who’s within arms reach for absolutely no reason. The lonely man makes his way across the country while trying to work out why Ezra is stalking him and killing anyone that crosses his path while trying to track down wife and her captors, eventually he chances on a old friend Benjamin Carver (Glover) and suddenly the penny drops and the movie changes direction.
The concept is sound, I really do like the story that is smoldering under the terrible acting. There I said it. Eastwood apparently looks “so much” like his father, personally I don’t see it, but he really can’t act like his father. The whole film feels uninspired. It has a slow pace and rarely gathers any momentum, the plot twist peaks too soon, and doesn’t have much left in the chamber to sucker punch the audience with after. Roeck seems to struggle with timing and doesn’t seem to be able to get the film into full gallop but maybe that’s just due to not having a clue where the film is really going.
It has been interesting to see Horror/Westerns on the rise, I think all romance has been drained from the deserts these days and we’re more happy seeing westerns as a dangerous place once again, but the second that it became unpopular to pit Americans against either Native Americans of Mexicans writers have been finding other harrowing tales for cowboys to dive into.
I would have loved to have seen a return of the ole spaghetti western with this younger Eastwood but I suppose he’s going to find his own footing, which is not a bad thing but I feel he gets big movies because of his heritage and this could have been a great film, but so many aspects of it falls short.
R – Seraphim Falls (2006), Haute Tension (2003),
L – Selected Westerns, Famous Sons
A – Life in the Shadow – Children of famous stars
5S – Danny Glover, Scott Eastwood, Walton Goggins
POST DISCUSSION TO COME