Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn
Director: John Maclean
Running Time: 88 mins
Slow West is a British film about a young, inexperienced man who attempts to travel across the Old West unaccompanied, only to find himself partnering with an ex-bounty hunter outlaw in order to reach a former love of his.
This may be a very understated and slow-moving drama, with little big action and loud performances, but it’s still hugely engrossing to watch. Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee are brilliant in the lead roles, and it’s a consistently unpredictable watch from start to finish.
Let’s start with the plot of this film. Put simply, it’s a slow-moving journey across the Deep South of the Old West, including a cast of only a few, and although that may not seem so thrilling, it really is intriguing.
The main reason for that is the two excellent central performances. Again, like the whole atmosphere of the film, the main characters are very understated, and yet they’re absolutely fascinating. The brilliant writing makes for great unpredictability in their actions throughout, and as such creates a constant air of tension and uneasiness as their relationship progresses.
This isn’t a big, loud action film either. There are a couple of shootouts, but the main source of excitement comes from the subtle hints of tension and peril, as well as various shocking unpredictable twists throughout.
What’s more is that this film creates atmosphere excellently through its use of music. It’s got a very quiet, but again unnerving score that lurks in the background almost incessantly throughout. It’s by no means irritating, in fact it’s quite a nice-sounding backing track, but it’s the fact that it really does have a very subtle and unnoticed impact on creating such a tense and uneasy atmosphere that proves how clever it is.
Overall, this gets an 8.1, because it’s an ingeniously understated and uneasy but hugely engrossing and intriguing film.