Slow West (review)

slow west poster

A Brilliant Western!

Slow West stars Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smith-McPhee who make this film an exceptional western.  Westerns are not released often in the current Hollywood trend. Django Unchained, directed Quentin Tarantino, was the last western to do major box office success in 2012.  Independent Western films have started to spring up in the last three years because the box office results for Django showed that people still love to watch a good western.  Slow West is western financed by A24, an independent studio, that Jon Maclean wrote and directed.

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Michael Fassbender stars as Silas, a former bounty hunter, who helps Jay (Kodi Smith-McPhee), a Irish immigrant, travel across the western states to find his long lost love. Rose.  Silas has very pessimistic view on the world and life.  Jay is very much a optimistic young naïve kid.   Silas has his own agenda, and Jay doesn’t realize it yet. Jay’s stars to humanize Silas on their journey but they don’t realize that they are being followed.

Jon Maclean wrote a character driven story full of action and dark humor. He also created a narrative that has twists and turns. These twists and turns make the story shift dramatically. Maclean also used flashbacks scenes which help tell the story of Rose and Jay.  The first time director brilliantly filmed scenes with a lot scenery or none depending on the story. For example, Jay meets a stranger in an empty desert. The scenery foreshadows that Jay might be in trouble.  Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smith-McPhee stand out in this film.

Kodi Smith-McPhee is 19 and has been acting for 10 years. However in the last three years, he has gained more substantial lead or supporting roles like voicing Norman in ParaNorman, the kids movie, and playing in the son of the pro ape family in Planet of the Apes.  He brought hopefulness to his character, Jay, and showed a great deal of acting ability and emotional range. He has one scene at the end of the movie when his hopefulness turns into sadness. His next role is playing Kurt Wagner, Nightcrawler, in X-Men Apocalypse.  His costar, Michael Fassbender, perfectly plays Silas the emotionless former bounty hunter.

Fassbender is always great in no matter what he is in. He might play a terrifying Magneto and sadistic slave owner on screen but the man knows how to make an audience remember him. Fassbender might be considered a A list Hollywood star, but he still does smaller independent films like Slow West.  His character Silas is a cool calm cunning outlaw. He adds a lot of humor to this movie. Silas has really no empathy at the beginning of the film. A lot of actors have a difficult time of taking an non empathic character and making the audience cheer for the character at the end of the film. Fassbender does it with ease.  Fassbender will star as MacBeth and Steve Jobs which both come out this year, and of course will be playing Magneto in X-Men Apocalypse and star in Assassin’s Creed, next year.

Overall, Slow West is quite literally fun. There are twists and turns in the story. Action isn’t a problem. The two lead actors really help make this film memorable. Jon Maclean did really good job directing a movie that could help the Western genre come back to popularity.  Slow West receives a 4.5 out of 5.  Slow West is in the bigger markets right now such as New York and LA but look for it on Netflix in about six months.

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