'Slow West' [Blu ray]
(Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Kodi Smit-McPhee, et al / Blu ray / R / 2015 / LGF)
Overview: A young Scottish man travels across America in pursuit of the woman he loves, attracting the attention of an outlaw who is willing to serve as a guide.
Blu ray Verdict: Shot on digital, when originally planned to be shot on 35mm, 'Slow West' is, yes, you smart readers ... a Western! It hits all the benchmarks of a Western horse movie too: a stranger new to the West, an outlaw of questionable character, a bounty hunters, really bad outlaws, an outpost, and a few Native Americans and others. However, they have little to do with the action.
One character is looking for his true love. We forgive him, for he is young. The other character, a wishy washy anti-hero bounty hunter, is 'helping' this young man. It's interesting, and the visual are out of Wyeth painting, but it's hard to care much.
We don't know why characters turn, we don't understand why the family has a bounty on their head, we don't get enough back story. While I know we are sophisticated movie goers in the 21st Century, we still like to see the motives for our characters, what drives them, what leads them to act as they do. There isn't enough exposition. There was certainly time in this lovely 90 minute film to let us in on the secrets of the characters.
That all said, and you should know that the stand out stars of this film are both the music and the cinematography! It looks and sounds delicious. The acting is okay, but not spectacular. However, the main problem was with the writing. The story just wasn't compelling enough. It would have also helped if the film featured a really nasty villain, not just a nebulous undefined band of loons. Westerns benefit from good villains and clear motives, two things 'Slow West' is lacking. And don't even get me started on the HORRIBLE cover art for this Blu ray / DVD release! Cheeeeeeeeesy and cheeeeeeeaply done, guys, sorry! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
"On Strange Land: Making Slow West" Featurette
Blu ray Purchase Link