Two hitmen and a lawman pursue a scientist on the run through Oregon in the Gold Rush era.
Hurt By Some Pacing Issues;
But Strong Overall.
This is the kind of film that I expect to sneak up on me over time, as opposed to leaving a rock solid initial impression. While it is engaging, it does occasionally feel like a dragging two hours, but is always held afloat by its principal actors. One of its strongest attributes is that it isn’t pigeonholed by its genre and is void of too many cliches. The script is more of a study of the relationships of all these men, as opposed to a simple revenge tale or high noon shoot-em-up adventure. It seems to owe a bit of itself to the Coen brothers, as it occasionally dips into absurdist humor before explosive violence breaks out to remind you of the setting and the stakes at hand. The lilting score really helps drive home the point that it’s not always going to be the standard, heavy-handed western, which was a nice touch. Benoit Debie’s photography is stunning at times, often pulling back slowly to let you contemplate the scenery much the same as the characters do, with some frames leaving quite an impression from the onset of the prologue. The film you think you will see at the beginning may not line up with the final product, but this is one of the things I enjoyed most about it. The story contemplates the price some were willing to pay to attempt to civilize a wild frontier, as well as asking you to examine the strength of your own bonds to family and friends. Overall, it’s a strong addition to its genre, but an edit would have helped the final product.