19
Feb
18

Slow West, The Salvation

Slow West

Slow West is a pretty good title for this movie. Boring West would also work. It was helmed by Scottish director John Mclean who barely understands the genre. The film’s languid pacing makes this 84-minute film feel three times as long. The characters are barely characters at all, merely one-dimensional constructs for lurching the plot along incrementally. The only action scene comes at the end of the movie, and the main character retardedly throws himself into a bullet and dies. Michael F. Assbender stars in this, and it was the only reason I gave it a chance. The movie sucks, and even though he’s a good actor, he couldn’t save it. Westerns without a story or at least without a charismatic character are pointless. They thrive on personal drama, punctuated by violence that has come after slowly building suspense. Slow West delivers none of that, only the slowness.

Verdict: Shitty

The Salvation

The Salvation is about a Danish immigrant who travels across the old west. I liked this angle, because there were a lot of immigrants in this period of U.S. history, and until now they have been left out of the story on the silver screen. Mads Mikkelsen plays a former Danish sharpshooter who immigrates with his family, only to have tragedy strike at the hands of ruthless gang members. What follows is a dual tale of revenge, with gang leader Jeffrey Dean Morgan attempting to get revenge on Mikkelsen, and Mikkelsen attempting to get revenge against the entire gang. Morgan is completely over-the-top with his scene chewing, and almost ruins the movie, but manages to keep it reined in enough to not lose it altogether. Mikkelsen is pitch-perfect as a man-on-fire looking for vengeance, but who is also smart enough to know he needs to keep his cool in order to survive. I liked that he prefers a rifle over a revolver, which is a different choice for the genre, and set the action scenes apart from genre standards. Eva Green is underutilized as Morgan’s girlfriend, but she has a great scene at the end. The biggest problem is the movie doesn’t feel like a real, lived-in world. The town feels like a set, and none of the characters are fleshed out except for Mikkelsen. You don’t really get fully absorbed, and always know you are watching a movie. The Salvation has plenty of action, and will satisfy any fan of the genre. It’s worth a look, especially for Mikkelsen’s performance, and the fact that it’s a modern western that isn’t boring.

Verdict: Average

 

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