July 8, 2015 | Rome, Italy | Clear 22°C
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Action

Black Sea

Jude Law plays a submarine captain and mercenary in a move that drowns.

Biopics

Big Eyes

Tim Burton fails to animate a story about an American painter whose art is "stolen" by her husband.

American Sniper

American sniper Chris Kyle is portrayed as a simple and direct man, to Clint Eastwood's credit.

Comedy-Romantic Comedy

Wild Canaries

Laurence Michael Levin's screwball comedy is neither screwy nor particularly funny.

Drama

The Duellists

There's plenty of style to spare in Ridley Scott's Napoleon-era first feature.

Hollywoodland

A story about what might have happened to the original Superman is stylish but shallow.

Leviathan

Andrey Zvyagintsev's deeply moving account of a Russian life in tatters is high on fatalism.

Horror

The Canal

Irish writer-director Ivan Kavanaugh's haunted house riff does all the right things, but flatly.

Love Eternal

A horror thriller about bereavement, estrangement and necrophilia is odd but incomplete.

Fantasy

Time Lapse

Bradley King's supernatural thriller has a good idea but its characters soon find themselves boxed in.




Date: 2015
Directed by: John MacLean
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Karen Pistorius, Rory McCann

Slow West

John MacLean's odd but engaging Western tells the story of Jay Cavandish (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an upper crust Scottish teen who in 1870 troupes Westward Ho in search of his peasant-girl true love Rose (Karen Pistorius), who's fled Scotland for the homestead life in America with father (Rory McCann) after a dispute leaves Jay's father dead. In the Colorado territories, Jay comes across Silas (Michael Fassbender), who ferries him toward the father-daughter. What he doesn't know is that Silas is a bounty hunter after the $2,000 reward on the Scottish duo's head. Along the way, the odd couple meets a satchel of eccentric figures — philosophical outlaws, laconic injuns, West African musicians, armed and wandering families — all in the thrall of the region's shoot-first primitivism. "In a short time, this will be a long time ago," a writer chronicling the "aborigines" tells Joey along the way. But a long time will be a short time for Joey, since thunderstorms and bloodbaths loom - the climax handled with awkward beauty.

New Zealander MacLean is true to the slowness of his West, inching his men forward (Fassbender looking like a kind man's Clint Eastwood). But Maclean also possesses moody, bizarre touch, merging aspects of the work of Sam Peckinpah, Jim Jarmusch and Wes Anderson. This is a little movie that gradually sheds its slightness, leaving a sweet, sad and moody mark.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

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