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Synopsis: 16 year old Jay Cavendish embarks upon a journey from Scotland across 19th Century Colorado in search of the girl he loves, but it’s not long before he is intercepted by the mysterious gunslinger, Silas.

Director John Maclean delves into feature film with this striking Western featuring Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, X-Men First Class) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road). The movie pays homage to famous pictures such as High Noon, Red River and Iron Horse.

The audience is introduced to Jay Cavendish through the narration of Silas, who struggles to understand the adolescent and his fairy-tale way of viewing life. We are faced with two main characters, one who doesn’t understand the dangers of pursuing his heart across the West and the other who sees the danger in everything. Silas has an ulterior motive which is jeopardised with the arrival of Ben Mendelsohn’s desperado, Payne, and his gang.

Though set in Colorado, Slow West was shot in New Zealand and has brought in the additional dimension of viewing the wilderness through tourists (much like Jay’s) eyes. The scenery provides a magnificent backdrop and allows the viewer to focus on harsh reality of the Wild West.

Maclean and Fassbender have previously collaborated on two shorts (Man on a Motorcycle, Pitch Black Heist) and subsequently the part of Silas was specially drafted and developed for Michael. Silas has become to know little more than bounty and loneliness and consequently is cynical and bitter, though on more than one occasion, it is clear that he does still harbour some humanity and a conscience.

Though Jay is young and naïve, he seems to counter Silas’s negativity throughout the movie. Kodi projects a child-like innocence and brings hope to even the most formidable setting. Jay is a likeable character and has the audience’s support along his journey.

Rose Ross is portrayed by Caren Pistorius, who is also in the upcoming Light Bewteen Oceans with Fassbender, and John Ross, her father, is portrayed my Rory McCann (Game of Thrones).

Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Factory) is intimidating as Payne and makes you fear for both Jay and Silas as it becomes clear that he and his gang of crooks will do anything to survive in the West.

The stellar cast and scenery are complimented by dashes of Coen’esque humour, notions of Native Americans and a soundtrack that pays tribute to the movie’s Western forefathers. The script is not dialogue-heavy as a lot of the speech is implied by the various characters’ expressions.

Overall, this feature is fun, exciting, thrilling and a must-see for both young and old audiences.

Until next time, ‘let’s drift’.

Review by Marnie | MFO

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