SLOW WEST

All I wanted from my son for Mother’s Day was for him to go with me to the movies, something we used to do all the time but that is now an infrequent treat.

Instead, we ended up moving more of his things into his first apartment. At first I thought that Mother’s Day weekend was rough timing for such a transition, but upon reflection, it seems rather fitting.

I still got my trip to the cinema, eventually, and chose a movie I thought we’d both like, Slow West.

It’s a winner all around.

Clocking in at a lean and mean 84-minutes, my son and I were both riveted to the lush images and surprising (but not too surprising) plot twists that make the film seem fresh.

There’s a nice balance here. While inspired by the conventions that define the Western genre, Slow West transcends them without going into baldly revisionist territory.

Imagine an engaging, little indie film, a road picture, a coming of age story with epic proportions, some surprisingly surrealistic elements, and lots of horses and guns. Now, think of this concoction as a tasty stew in which the disparate ingredients work together well, and this gives you some idea of the tone of the picture.

Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Jay Cavendish, an upper-crust, Scottish teenager who has traveled to the American West in the 1870s to pursue the woman he loves.

That he has made is as far as he has unharmed with rogue soldiers, other types of outlaws, and American Indians on the run is surprising. That he hires one of the outlaws, Silas Selleck (played by the always sublime Michael Fassbender) to protect him, is more promising than his other options.

I don’t want to tell you more about the story. Let it unfold and enjoy it for yourself. This is writer-director John Maclean’s first feature, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Slow West is a little treasure not to be missed.

Slow West

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