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    Slow West (2015): Movie Review


    How far can you go in the name of love? In a slow yet mesmerizing means of story-telling, director John MacLean takes us into the fated encounter of a Scottish Romeo in search of his love and a restless bounty hunter in his debut film Slow West

    The movie opens with Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) staring at the wide expanse of the continental skies studded with myriad stars. He has come to 1800s Colorado all the way from Scotland to find Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius), a pheasant’s daughter to whom he falls in love with and who has escaped to America with his father after her kin accidentally killed Jay’s uncle. So on this foreign soil Jay explores, bringing only his horse, guidebook and few belongings. When Jay is being scared shit by some Native hunters, bounty hunter Silas (Michael Fassbender) comes to his rescue. After which, with some few bucks on his pocket, Silas escorts Jay in his quest for love in the parched yet rich lands in the West. 


    Slow West is basically a romance story infused with the correct dose of comedy and violence. It is a cheesy and out-of-this-world love story as Jay, who appears to have just passed puberty, ventures across oceans and mountains to be reconnected with his love Rose who, unknown to him, is wanted by the law along with her father. But Silas knows about Rose Ross, and when the opportunity presented, he grabs his chance. Escorting the na├»ve and innocent Jay, Silas stumbles into his previous band of hunters lead by Payne (Ben Mendelsohn). So here comes the conflict which ended in a surprising twist (spoiler alert) with Silas and Rose living together, tending to some kids whose parents have been killed by Jay and  a bar owner. 

    The movie constantly changes point of view, mostly between Jay and Silas. It also continually flashes scenes from Jay’s life and love in Scotland, a back story which makes us root for Jay and his seemingly stupid yet stirring search for Rose. The flashbacks and the change of voices work well in creating excitement and premises to look forward to.

    Since the film is about a journey, Slow West also progresses from being comedic to drama to violent and then to reflective. Humor is spot-on and just comes in moments we least expected. That scene when Jay catches the arrow with his bare hand is totally mind-blowing and guiltily entertaining. There are also moments of heartbreak in the film like when Jay realizes that the woman he had shot has two children. When the movie reaches climax, a violent and bloody gun fight ensues. It is nothing like Tarantino’s stark brutality but it has that element of fun savageness, especially that moment when salt accidentally falls on Jay’s bleeding and dying body. Towards the end, the film grows serious as Silas speaks about his realizations. Essentially, the story is really about him and how an inexperienced yet brave young man touches the very core of his being. 


    Adding romanticism to the film is its brilliant selection of setting, its cinematography, and its musical score. The technical details have been well laid out to give a convincing story. However, the story is very laid-back as the slow pacing sometimes drags the thrill down. Though persuasive, the film is quite incredulous and dense at times, like when Rose Ross inadvertently shots Jay and not knowing the whole time that it is Jay. And Silas could have easily killed and robbed Jay anytime, but he doggedly followed him throughout.

    Slow West is certainly an interesting piece of romance. With its natural transitions and inspiring backdrop, it is an enjoyable movie to watch. And with his attention to technical details, director John MacLean is a promising genius. Yet, the film is mostly sluggish and unbelievable at times. For this, four-and-a-half stars out of five for the movie.






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    We may pursue many dreams but it is always our passions that will give our lives deeper meaning. I am an agricultural engineer by records, a university instructor by profession, and a blogger by heart...

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