Many of the reviews here seem to be written by contributors who take their cinema VERY seriously not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say! . However, my take on Slow West is that I just loved it. It was a beautiful story with a great ending and it was a pleasure to see it all condensed into 84 minutes and not follow the new 'value for money' 3 hour epic scenario that a lot of films seem to be going for these days. All of the actors were superb and I loved the occasional quirky characters that showed up, especially the Congolese trio singing away in <more>
the middle of nowhere! So, in my humble opinion, Slow West is a good traditional enjoyable Western movie and that's it!
A wickedly funny delight with a deliciously violent end (by theSachaHall)
In his feature debut, musician and filmmaker John McCann has created a perspective of the American frontier that is as refreshingly entertaining as the violent degenerates who inhabit this new, vibrant and majestic landscape. With blurring convention subversions and inversions, a slow but fast tempo, and unexpected flashes of absurdity and violence, it's a fantastical world meticulously designed to surprise you when you least expect whilst simultaneously reminding you of its unforgiving desolation and desperation.Even if you're not a fan of Westerns, you'll be a fan of this <more>
one.Scottish aristocrat Jay Cavendish Kodi Smit-McPhee is in the midst of first love; so bewitched that he decides to abandon his birth right and all that he knows at the tender of 16 in search of his Rose Caren Pistorius who has fled to the American frontier with her crofter father Rory McCann after a deadly accident on the Cavendish estate.The film begins with stargazing as a voice-over by one Silas Selleck Michael Fassbender , imparts the basics of an amplified and unrequited love story between Jay and Rose. He's an inscrutable and mysterious frontiersman with an agenda that so happens to coincide with the plans of the young Scottish aristocrat of whom he speaks - well sort of. What he fails to reveal in a stilted manner that would have made John Wayne proud, is the news that a bounty has been issued for Rose and her father to the tune of $2,000 dead or alive and that a number of iniquitous opportunists are also hot on the trail.Set during the end of the 19th Century and with naïve determination, an over-laden horse, trusty teapot and a guidebook to surviving the west in hand, Jay embarks on his ill-fated journey alone until he is quickly confronted by a showdown between Indian hunters and their prey. Saved by Silas who then goes on to tell Jay that he has agreed to protect him on his journey - for a price of course – the two team up and continue the slow journey to Colorado. McCann inverts the protagonist/slapstick sidekick convention here to comedic effect. Where Jay is submissive and fanciful, waxing poetically of love, Silas is monosyllabic sharp-witted and dangerously efficient. Jay cares whilst Silas couldn't care less. Jay devises alternate clotheslines; Silas treats wounds and speaks plainly. 'You haven't bedded her yet have you?' he says in response to Jay's talk of Rose.And the pendulum of humorous violence and violent humour steps up each time new characters reveal themselves on screen. The kind of sick humour that I absolutely love when such occasions present themselves like during the hold-up at the general store in the middle of nowhere. It's perfectly triangulated to include all parties in the violent fray and preceded by poignant words from the shopkeeper 'You know, if you take my money, this is the only place you could spend it'. Good point.Not to be outdone in any shape or form, Ben Mendelsohn who plays Payne makes his presence known, swaggering into the fray as the party starter with his bottle of absinthe, wearing his 'I've been in Game of Thrones' behemoth coat, and chomping on his robusto cigars. His performance, as well as the performance of Fassbender and Smit-McPhee, is excellent with each character playing off well against and with each other without feeling forced or overdone. But the true standout is the film's visual style. DP Robbie Ryan opts for a smaller, tighter frame that restricts viewing and forces viewers into an intimacy with the characters and the landscapes whilst the shots of on screen violence linger just enough to exploit the cruelty and intense violence. Filmed in the stunning Mackenzie Country region on the New Zealand's South Island, the shots of colourful vistas with Russell Lupins in the frame give the environment a vibrancy that doesn't detract from the barrenness of the plains and balances out the yellow tones of the tussocks reminiscent of American Westerns. SLOW WEST is wickedly funny delight with a deliciously violent end.
"In a short time,this will be a long time ago." (by morrison-dylan-fan)
Taking a look on Netflix UK,I discovered that on the same day that Netflix's Adam Sandler Western ! The Ridiculous 6 was put on the site,that another 2015 Western had appeared,which led to me getting ready to enter the Wild West .slowly. The plot-1870:Leaving Scotland behind, Jay Cavendish travels to the US in search of his missing lover Rose Ross.Surrounded by Indians with bow and arrows, Cavendish is saved by bounty hunter Silas Selleck.Impressed by his skills, Cavendish hires Selleck to protect him during his search for Rose Ross.As he travels around protecting Cavendish,Selleck <more>
spots a wanted poster offering a reward of $20,000 for Rose Ross and her dad.View on the film:Making his debut,the screenplay by John Maclean who directed a music vid for his brother David's band Django Django soaks the film in a dour,Gothic atmosphere,with Maclean's opening of flashbacks to Scotland giving Cavendish's search for Rose Ross a doom-laden coat.Keeping the movie to a handful of characters, Maclean counters the warm sincerity of Cavendish with the rustic grit of Selleck,who sees Cavendish's love as a road to a fistful of dollars.Helping to bring the film into town after working with Maclean on a short film,Michael Fassbender gives an excellent performance as Selleck,with Fassbender placing a gap between Selleck & Cavendish with a firm belief that the rules of the West outlaw everything else in life.Finding himself alone in the Wild West, Kodi Smit-McPhee gives a great performance as Cavendish,thanks to Smit-McPhee's keeping Cavendish's love-struck warmth burning to the titles parting shots.Opening with stars dashing across the screen, Maclean & Robbie Ryan gives the Wild West a superb,strange atmosphere.Set in the US with Scottish leads and filmed in New Zealand,Maclean and Ryan give the title a tense supernatural atmosphere,with "paper windows" and mysteriously disappearing outlaws placing Cavendish's search half way into an alt world.Showing the beautiful New Zealand landscape does it ever look bad? in stylish, restrained shots,Mclean gives the movie a starkly haunting post-apocalypse appearance.Avioding any salons or bar room brawls,Mclean makes the outdoor locations look like nature is reclaiming the Wild West,as Selleck and Cavendish find themselves surrounded by wilderness for miles,with brittle gunshots being the only thing to break the silence of the slow West.
Slow West is a beautiful, emotionally charged love letter to film (by jackgradis)
Slow West stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young Scottish boy who is traveling through the 1870's west in pursuit of the women he loves. Michael Fassbender plays an estranged outlaw who acts as s guide. Obviously Fassbender is incredible. His sense of mystery and confidence makes his character very intriguing and hard to look away from. But the surprise of the film is Smit-McPhee and his ability to go toe-to-toe with Fassbender. A breakout performance from a promising young star.The first thing that jumps out at me about this film is the cinematography. Despite the setting being a raggedy, <more>
barren west, this is a beautiful looking film. Every scene is gorgeous western eye candy. That coupled with the slow-burn, unpredictable, surprising script that is full of dark humor. The humor is gritty and shocking, and it definitely added another layer to this film.It's hard to believe this is director John Maclean's first film. He way he slowly reveals certain plot elements without losing interest is very well done. He also pulls off some beautiful symbolism that is both heartbreaking and grounded. I can't wait to see more from Maclean, because he is off to a fantastic start.Slow West is definitely one of those films that you will either love and be able to appreciate as a throwback to old westerns, or a film that bores you and fails to hit home. I definitely love this film and deeply appreciate what it goes for and accomplishes.Overall, Slow West moves at a gradual but intriguing pace, using beautiful cinematography and knock out performances to produce one of my favorite films of 2015 thus far. This movie definitely shocked me and I highly recommend you seek this film out and give it a watch.
I'm unsure what genre this film would be: it is sweet and dreamy yet contains emotional turmoil and tragedy with absurdist humour thrown in for good measure. It could be best described as an existentialist action flick. It is set in the wild west days of northern America where the western frontier was abound with lawlessness and where life was cheap. The main protagonist is a thin, pale Scottish lad, Jay, with large blue eyes. He has arrived in America and is heading westward in search of his lost love Rose Ross. Rose and her father John were falsely accused of murder and fled Scotland. <more>
They came to start a new life somewhere in the west.Jay is a romantic pacifist without a single violent bone in his body. He looks at the stars, ponders about the natives on the moon and recites poetry. He doesn't know how to shoot a gun nor has the gumption to use it; he is completely hopeless out in the wild. Jay meets Silas the lone ranger by happenstance and the two make a deal where Silas will escort Jay safely across the western frontier to Rose in return for a sum of money. Silas is a man of few words that carries a lot of loneliness and pain. He grew up with a gang of bounty hunters but peeled himself away from them to seek a life of peace while at the same time creating much danger to himself as the gang wants him to come back.Initially Jay doesn't entirely trust Silas and attempts to make the journey himself a couple of times. In his final attempt, he gets seduced by Werner: a man of knowledge and wisdom who also ponders about the world like Jay. There is a segment of a philosophical discussion that takes place between them. Werner is in the process of capturing the knowledge on the lives and culture of the native Indians as, in his opinion, once they are near-extinct and become the minority to the Europeans, their culture and existence will be romanticised and exoticised without any objectivity The two spend the night wondering about time, the universe and fleeting human existence.The scenery in the film is simply stunning and the white clarity of the sunlight adds a surreal feel to the film. It is fantastic to see the New Zealand landscape presented in its raw beauty without adulteration by any CGI which sometimes happened in other major films set in New Zealand.As Jay and Silas continue on in their journey, we discover that there is a handsome bounty on Rose and her father and all the bounty hunters are heading out west alongside Jay and Silas. It is a matter of time before they are found dead or alive as $2000 sits on their heads and Jay and Silas must get there before the bounty hunters.I am unsure what to make of the humour in this film except to compare it to the likes of Park Chan-wook's films especially Old Boy . It appears at the most unfitting and inappropriate times and it is so fun and childish. For me the humour was what enhanced this film to a thinking piece rather than a western action flick; as the humour made light of the violence and carnage it brought the focus to the journey of mind and body. Overall this film far exceeded the expectation I had from its rather lacklustre title . It is stunning in its looks and its story and I would highly recommend it without a hint of patriotism.This review is taken from www.amateurreviewspace.blogspot.com
One's a falling angel - the other one's a rising devil. (by Spikeopath)
Slow West is written and directed by John Maclean. It stars Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius and Rory McCann. Music is by Jed Kurzel and cinematography by Robbie Ryan.It's the late 1800s and a teenage Scottish aristocrat travels to the American West to track down the girl he loves with all his heart...There has been a number of modern day directors who have not only refused to let the Western genre die, but also to not be afraid to take it to a harshness of the West level. They have chosen to strip it back to a sense of realism, with no frills and <more>
bunting, just a show of tough times populated by tough people and people tough out of luck. Slow West is one such Oater.For his first full length feature, John Maclean has chosen to make a genre of film he clearly knows something about. It's got some familiar tropes - greenhorn, grizzled bounty hunter, deadly gang et al, but Maclean has still made a fresh picture, one that not only intrigues and excites, but also humours by way of some black comedy inserts.Essentially it's a travelogue piece, McPhee's lovelorn Jay Cavendish ends up being escorted on his journey by Fassbender's mysterious tough guy Silas Selleck. It's an odd yet engaging pairing, and as they are pursued by Selleck's old gang, and they come across a number of eccentric or devious characters, you may find yourself hoping that all the hidden agendas - the secrets bubbling away in the background - do not shatter the surrogate relationship neither was looking for.His heart was in the wrong place.Ah, but yes! Maclean shows gumption to go all mud and blood on our butts, building everything to a quite terrific final quarter of film that has rode in on a black stallion straight from noirville. No printing the legend here, it's a bitter commentary on the romanticised view of the Old West. Western fans keen of ear will pick up on some historically spiky dialogue exchanges, whilst also noting the nods towards the immigration angles, where Maclean doesn't pull punches as to how desperate the Old West was for many of those who travelled hoping for a better life.Predominantly filmed in New Zealand superbly standing in for the American West , the panoramic cinematography is stunning, while it's great to see the backdrops are not just mountainous desert scapes, this journey goes through forestry as well. Cast are on prime form, Fassbender seems to be a given these days and it's hoped he will do a Western again, and McPhee plays off of him with genuine conviction. Then there's Mendelsohn, who has to be one of the finest Australian character actors working today, he's perfectly cast here, so his fans know exactly what they will be getting.The poster art is hugely frustrating, showing Caren Pistorius with a big beaming smile on her face, that is very much a bum steer. You would be wise to take more note of the faces of Messrs McPhee, Fassbender and Mendelsohn on that poster, for their facial portraits are more in keeping with this cracker-jack Western. 9/10
The Western love child of Wes Anderson and the Coens. (by Ser_Stephen_Seaworth)
The first thing I noticed about Slow West is how much better Michael Fassbender's American accent has improved, especially in comparison to his drawl in 12 Years a Slave. There are still traces of his foreign heritage in his voice, but he's got the cadence and timbre of it down-pat here, which is certainly a boon here, as he also adopts the role of narrator in writer/director John Maclean's tough yet quietly funny romp through the frontier. Why is it tough? Because Maclean doesn't hesitate in showing that the West was unforgiving; people die with almost alarming suddenness and <more>
violence, and not a single one of them gets a languishing death soliloquy. It's all a great shock to young Jay Cavendish Kodi Smit- McPhee , a Scottish émigré who ventured out West not to seek fame or fortune, but rather the love of his life, who fled their homeland after an accident Jay feels responsible for. Jay, the upper-crust scion of a well-to-do family, is unprepared for the harshness of the climate, and the opening credits have barely begun to roll before he's looking down the barrel of a gun. It's only by the grace of God and the quick reflexes of gunslinger Silas Fassbender that Jay gets out unscathed. Silas, a gruff and opportunistic sort, takes the job of "chaperoning" Jay through the territory, ostensibly to make an easy buck—but there are truer, darker intentions lurking within him. See, Silas is a bounty hunter, and his target happens to be one John Ross Rory McCann and his daughter Rose Caren Pistorius , the latter of whom happens to be Jay's inamorata. Neglecting to mention that his beloved is a wanted fugitive with a $2,000 price tag on her head, Silas tries to instill Jay with enough street smarts to get him through the journey. Unfortunately, some lessons take more quickly and harshly than others. And yet, the film has a light touch of humor to it that, when paired with the frank grimness of the West, works wonders. Maclean peppers the film with sublime sight gags and, in one instance, an outlaw's recollection of a former colleague's disappointment at not having his own wanted poster that could've come right out of the works of Mark Twain. Maclean's film also owes a debt, I feel, to True Grit; the two films feel like they could be spiritual twins. Unlike most of the genre, Slow West doesn't revel in the wide-open Leone-esque expanses of the frontier. Instead, it's squared off in a narrow frame by cinematographer Robbie Ryan, giving it a more intimate flair. Nevertheless, the film is quite lovely to look at. The color palette is striking and, if I didn't know better, I'd have thought Wes Anderson had decided to saddle up for a Western. Certain shots pop, like young Jay wading through the ashen remains of an Indian camp or of a character being abandoned in the desolate prairie with nothing but his longjohns and a blanket. Smit-McPhee, quickly proving himself to be able to transition from his child actor years to adulthood, stands his ground admirably in the part. He also has a skill with silent comedy; most of the audience's guffaws came at Jay's befuddled reactions. Fassbender, who I feel works best when he isn't trying to crank up the intensity, feels very relaxed, giving perhaps his best performance in years. The bulk of the film focuses on just these two actors, although occasionally they share screen time with some colorful characters, including Ben Mendelsohn as a wily, cigar-chewing outlaw. Mendelsohn has been a personal casting choice for a Blood Meridian adaptation, and this would make a hell of an audition reel for it. Despite its humor, Slow West does have an air of solemnity to it. There is the air of lost love, and not just in Jay's desperate struggle to reunite with Rose. There is also a somber sense of loss for that world. In one crucial scene, Jay meets a German anthropologist out in the wilderness, who openly laments the oncoming extinction of the native tribes in the area and the damages of white expansionism. At one point, the man smiles forlornly and says, "In a short time, this will seem like a long time ago." That line, more than any other moment in the film, lingers in the mind.
A wry exploration of the human condition. (by padwoir)
This is my first review, I wanted to save it for a movie that I was touched by and one that gave me something I didn't expect, in essence a film that gave me everything that I thought it wouldn't. Slow West magnificently portrays the human condition, with all it's defects and strengths. It rather wonderfully and in a very subtle way exposes it's capacity for love and betrayal, loyalty and mistrust, fear and courage. It reveals to us that desperate good people do terrible things to survive in hard times, how hard bitten and essentially broken souls have the means and <more>
wherewithal to do good and be forgiving. It shows how we can be innocent and naive and yet still be able to teach, how we can be overly aggressive and yet protective, greedy yet also so very giving. The true wonder of this film is to me is that it exposes to us that all of us can be all of the above at some point in our lives, that we all have the capacity for evil or good and sometimes it is only circumstance that turns us either onto or away from a particular path. It's theme to me is the delicate balance between success and death in the American west during that period from the standpoint of choices made, and to my mind I think it succeeds in portraying this exceptionally well.Many of the reviews I have read on here in regards to this film say it is far too slow, I don't think it is at all, it is a journey, a gradual layering of the story building to a climax, it is not supposed to be action and bells and whistles from the off, I think it is a film that ultimately is trying to make you think; you are invited to explore who we are and what we are capable of as humans in hostile conditions. The performances are excellent all round, the thoroughly underrated Ben Medelsohn particularly as the 'realist' outlaw and Michael Fassbender who commands the screen in all his scenes, as he so often does. I think the writing of the dialogue is fantastic and nuanced, the humour dry and cleverly interspersed and the attention to period detail almost faultless. My only gripe is that there are a couple of scenes that don't seem to fit the narrative, maybe that is what slows this film down for some.I understand that that this kind of western or period drama for that matter is not to everyones taste, that for many 'action' is the byword by which these films stand or fall, well to that I say to each their own. If however you are keen to watch a movie that attempts to reflect back to you just what it means to be a person with all a persons flaws, and how circumstance can shape us into the judged or judgemental, then this very well may be a worthwhile watch for you.
A unique and revisionist Western with an outstanding cast (by estebangonzalez10)
"A jack rabbit in a den of wolves."After their collaboration together in two short films, John Maclean and Michael Fassbender team up for the director's feature debut in this originally fresh take on the Western genre. In Slow West we get a different glimpse of the West, avoiding the typical Americana style confrontation between cowboys and indians. Here we are introduced to a world where immigrants are trying to force their way through this lawless land. Surviving in this place has nothing to do with how well of a shot you are, it's more about luck and being at the right <more>
place at the right time. The story, which was written by Maclean, follows the journey of a 16 year old boy named Jay Cavendish Kodi Smit-McPhee who has traveled from Scotland to the West in search of Rose Caren Pistorius , the woman he's in love with. Along with her father, John Rory McCann , they had to flee from Scotland after an incident with Jay's father. Jay is clueless about the West, but determined. He runs into a former bounty hunter named, Silas Michael Fassbender who offers his service as his chaperon realizing he will need protection if he wants to survive in this place. What Jay doesn't know however is that there is a bounty for Rose and her father, and there are many people interested in collecting the reward. Among them there is the eccentric Payne Ben Mendelsohn who is an old acquaintance of Silas. What the film does extremely well in Slow West is balance the western genre with a dry sense of humor. There are plenty of surprisingly funny moments in this film that help build the story. Through a series of fortunate and misfortunate events we follow these characters through their journey. Kodi Smit-McPhee and Michael Fassbender share strong chemistry together and keep us hooked during the slowly paced scene. There is a memorable scene that takes place in a store/bar during the first half of the film and a fantastic final shoot out at the end, which stands out from most Westerns. The film has a unique taste to it and some interesting characters, but the gorgeous cinematography is what stands out in this immense landscape. It's only 84 minutes long, but it is a perfect fit for this movie which ends in memorable fashion. It took its time to grow on me, but the more I think about it the more I end up liking this film. I've always been a huge fan of the Western genre, and adding Michael Fassbender to that mix only makes this an even more rewarding experience. Slow West is stylish and uses its gorgeous landscape very well it was actually filmed in New Zealand , but it also includes a dreamy atmosphere and plenty of humor. There is a scene during the beginning of the film where Jay is looking at the night stars and pointing his gun towards them and as he imaginarily shoots at them, they light up. There are plenty of dreamy sequences like this one, but there is also plenty of dry humor as well. There is a narration over a camp fire about an outlaw who wants his very own wanted poster. Ben Mendelsohn's eccentric coat is also a feast for the eyes which adds its comedic touch. Slow West has a great cast and it is a film worth recommending. http://estebueno10.blogspot.com/