It seems like forever since there has been a good western. The last one I loved and is one of my favorites was Open Range and that was released in 2003. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford looked great but could drag. 3:10 to Yuma also was slow at times, which the viewer could really feel, but had enough action and themes that it was worth it. Then you get horrid attempts like Appaloosa or the Proposition both of which were so boring and slow it was mind-numbing. So when someone told me that there was a great western that was just released and starring Michael Fassbender, I was all in. I shouldn’t have been.
Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee) comes from an aristocratic family in Scotland and has traveled to the United States to find his love. His true love is named Rose (Caren Pistorius) a young peasant girl he falls in love with who had to flee to America after her father accidently kills Jay’s uncle. During his travels he meets up with Silas (Michael Fassbender) who he pays to get him to her in one piece after realizing he can’t make it on his own in the west. What Jay doesn’t know is that Silas is a bounty hunter seeking Rose and her father for the reward money.
As usual, good out of the way so we can tear into this nonsense. The acting across the board is great and the look and feel of the film is incredible. What is unfortunate is that the story is so worthless. It seems like a long drawn out college film made by someone who thinks he’s like, totally super deep. Who thinks his long drawn out moments are so profound that he can taste the awards coming his way. I’d use the word pretentious, but that would be too complementary. Chock that up with all the wasted talent and incredible cinematography and this is actually heartbreaking in its failure. It’s heartbreaking because the story is what makes the film a complete failure and its downfall.
I have read other reviews, glowing in their praise because, well, who knows why. Well, those same reviews say that this movie is a deep and emotional look into what love is. What? From the start you know that the boy is delusional and is so blind to the fact he has been friendzoned he travels hundreds of miles to find the girl that doesn’t care about him thinking they are in love. Not only friendzoned but, in all honesty it doesn’t seem like she would care one bit if she ever saw him again. That’s all topped off with her using him one last time before he takes his last breath to save her wretched self. Honestly? It feels like the makers actually had this happen to them with a girl and this is their way of getting back at them. ”Here’s how you hurt me, by callously shooting me in the heart and then pouring salt (yeah, that’s really in the movie) in the wound. Well, I’m a director now so meh.” That being the point of the whole story is what makes this film such a waste of time. Why should you care about a character this dumb? His only point is to open the mind of Fassbenders character to something good in the world. But that all falls flat because there wasn’t something good in the world for the kid, just a selfish girl who needed someone to play with in her dull life.
Don’t waste your time unless you like slow agonizing torture. The film did look unbelievable. It just sucks that the story was such a pile.
1 star out of 4