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Slow West

Year: 2015
Production Co: See-Saw Films
Director: John Maclean
Writer: John Maclean
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn

Along with being a prestigious festival title, the clue about the creative outlook of this film (to say nothing of the pacing) is in the title, and only a few weeks after watching it I remember almost nothing that actually happens in the story.

It deals with a young Scot named Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who falls in with grizzled bounty hunter Silas as he drifts across the frontier plains. Jay has come to look for the woman he loves after she's fallen out of contact and Silas agrees to help the younger man, not telling him there's a bounty out on her and her father's head that Silas himself hopes to collect.

But he isn't the only one who knows about the bounty, however, and he and Jay cross paths with the charismatic but seemingly unhinged rogue Payne (Ben Mendelsohn), a guy you just know is going to be trouble.

I remember almost nothing of the characters or story that happens between the beginning and the climax but it all culminates in one of the most Western of motifs – Payne and his gang closing in on the girl's homestead as Silas and Jay load up inside and prepare for the siege and resulting bloodbath.

It's beautifully shot and well acted – though that was a given – but as the title warns you in no uncertain terms it's very low key, restrained, quiet, muted and most of all, slow.

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