Sunday 28 June 2015

Review: Slow West

World of Blackout Film Review

Slow West Poster

Slow West
Cert: 15 / 83 mins / Dir. John Maclean / Trailer
WoB Rating: 4/7

I know I was pre-warned by the film's title itself, but Slow West is almost stationary. That trailer makes things seem quite dynamic, but rest assured, that's pretty much all of the film's action, right there.

If you love the full range of wild landscapes New Zealand has to offer, this is the film for you, and you'll have plenty of time to appreciate it as the narrative progresses at literal walking pace. Imagine Lord Of The Rings, if everyone was a cowboy and no-one seemed in any particular hurry to drop off The Ring. The (necessarily) linear nature of the plot sees McPhee and Fassbender plodding through a series of vignettes, punctuated by a series of McPhee's continuing flashbacks, and the episodic nature of his prevents any kind of real flow (other than 'Oh, I see they've lost their trousers again', and even that isn't as interesting as it sounds).

Although at least by heading consistently West, the characters are moving in one set direction, unlike Fassbender and McPhee's accents, which wander about so much that their passports are already fully stamped by the third act. Luckily, when the Irishman playing an American and the Australian playing a Scotsman run vocally aground, the film drafts in another Australian in the form of Ben Mendelsohn, to show them how it's done. I can't imagine the lesson will stay learned.

Cinematographer Robbie Ryan uses a beautifully quiet lens, but it's perhaps too quiet for a film where little else is happening other than the scenery. Even the burst of character-arc-closing violence in World Of Sheds at the end of the film is no real consolation, as I'd been hoping for at least one of them to get shot for the previous hour anyway. The film exudes atmosphere, certainly, but it's the atmosphere of the kind of Western I don't particularly care for. The fault here lies entirely with the viewer, I know.

Slow West is a beautifully filmed journey in need of some serious direction.
I imagine you'll enjoy it; I'm usually wrong about this sort of thing

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
Oh, I have no idea.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
Rent it first; best be safe, eh?.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
*looks over spectacles*.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Again, I have no idea.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Not really, but I will question you at length about your thoughts on it.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Slow West stars Ben Mendelsohn who is [currently] heavily rumoured to be appearing in Star Wars: RogueOne.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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