"Don’t Put Your Heart Into the Wrong Things"
What You Need To Know:
SLOW WEST is full of surprises and refuses to fall into one genre. It’s apparent that the first time director John Maclean is influenced by contemporary filmmakers; even so, SLOW WEST remains uniquely enjoyable. Even better than the movie’s gorgeous landscapes may be how the characters develop. One hardened character learns that there’s more to life than just surviving. The other character realizes that his romantic outlook on life is not only naive, but also dangerous. All in all, SLOW WEST is an entertaining adventure, but it has some strong foul language at points and sudden violence that warrants a strong caution, especially for children.
(BB, CC, Ev, LL, VVV, N, AA, D, M) A moral worldview about redemption, family and letting go of ones romantic worldview; multiple references to God and providence, a Psalm is quoted, a bounty hunter dresses as a reverend so that strangers will trust him; a reference to Richard Dawkins evolutional theory of natural selection; eight obscenities (one F word), three profanities (including to GD’s), a man urinates; some strong action violence with a high body count, many people are shot, a mans head hits a rock and dies, nothing excessively gory, but still plenty of blood, the main characters gets an arrow shot through his hand; no sexual content; upper male nudity; moderate drinking and some drunkenness; heavy smoking of cigars; lots of stealing, main characters leave two orphan children by themselves, but the children are saved by the end.
SLOW WEST is a quirky, dramatic western starring Michael Fassbender. In the late 19th century, Jay Cavendish, a sixteen year-old Scottish boy is traveling across the great plains into Colorado in search for the woman that he loves. Incompetent at all things of the “wild west”, Jay comes across Silas (Fassbender), a rough outlaw. Silas tells Jay that he’ll be dead by dawn in Colorado, so Jay offers to pay Silas to get him to his destination. As they travel, Silas shows Jay the basics of survival in the west, and Jay sees the brutal, lawlessness of the wilderness. “There’s more to life than surviving” Jay says, to which Silas replies, “Yeah, there’s dying.” Jay sees the west as a place of hope and new beginnings in a beautifully naive way. Hardened by the gang of outlaws that he left, Silas lives with one goal, survive.
As they travel, the audience learns that Jay’s long lost woman is Rose Ross, a simple Scottish girl. Back home, they were best friends, but of course, Jay wanted to be more than just friends, something that Rose did not share. After Roses father accidentally kills Jay’s mean-spirited and powerful uncle, Rose and her father are forced to flee to America.
Silas hides the fact that there’s a bounty of $2000 for Rose and her father, dead or alive, and Jay is leading all the bounty hunters right in their direction. Among those bounty hunters is Silas’s old gang, led by the eccentric Payne (Ben Mendelsohn). Will they be able to reach Rose in time?
SLOW WEST is full of surprises, refusing to fall into one genre. The image composition style is comparable to Wes Anderson’s MOONRISE KINGDOM, but with a darker vibe, juxtaposing violence with comedy in a Quentin Tarantino fashion. Even traces of the Coen Brothers FARGO and TRUE GRIT can be seen. It’s apparent that first time director John Maclean is heavily influenced by these filmmakers, and even so, SLOW WEST remains uniquely enjoyable.
Better than the movie’s gorgeous landscapes may be how the characters develop. Silas starts out hardened, and Jay is hopelessly and ignorantly in love, both are met with harsh realities by the end and only one walks away. In a sense, both Silas and Jay were right in the respective views of the west. Silas learns that there’s more to life than just surviving, such as family. Jay blindly goes after his love, but is met with the truth that the world is cruel and violent, and at some point a young man has to descend from the clouds of his fantasy to the real world. In a sense, Jay realizes this, thinking that if he can’t find his love, maybe Silas can. However, his romantic worldview comes back to bite him.
SLOW WEST has some strong language at points and sudden violence that warrants a strong caution.