Slow West (2015)





Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius, Rory McCann


At the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas (Michael Fassbender), a mysterious traveler, and hotly pursued by an outlaw along the way.


Maybe it's because I'm a die-hard Fassbender fan, but he is always worth watching, even if the film is bad. I am not a great connoisseur of Western - I've watched Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West" and "For a Few Dollars More", and Kevin Costner's "Dances with Wolves" only - but until now I loved them. This one is no different.

Slow paced as the title suggests, Slow West is a bizarre, captivating, funny, touching and violent Western road trip that confirms John Maclean as a big talent.

British director and writer John Maclean, through the eyes of naive dreamer Jay, tells a beautiful story, with a memorable ending, about the violence in the New World, cynicism, and money rush that involves everybody, both natives and immigrants. Also, he manages to balance life and death with some great comedic elements. 

There is no much character development, but considering the great result achieved, I don't feel like complaining about it.

Filmed in New Zealand, the scenography lacks in Canyons, and provides a sense of loss, yet the spectacular landscapes give you hope. The cinematography by Robbie Ryan is great, and the musical score by Jed Kurzel blends with the film.

The acting is sublime. Michael Fassbender, both leading character and narrator, delivers another wonderful performance - he has improved his American accents a lot since "12 Years a Slave" - and his humour perfectly fits the character and this road trip. Kodi Smit-McPhee does a fantastic job in the other leading role. However, the most memorable is Caren Pistorius as the beautiful Rose. She does not have lot of screen time, but she is in the frame she captures your full attention.

Michael Fassbender once said, "The great thing about doing independent films is that they move fast, and I like that. I like the speed, and having to be on your toes...The little films need the big films to do well because they are dependent on getting that money. "Frank" gets made because I do something like "X-Men: First Class" or "Prometheus". I don't think thanking him from the bottom of my heart will be enough. 

Silas: That kid was a wonder. He saw things differently. To him, we were in a land of hope and good will. 

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