A dark river of fatalism courses beneath the beautifully photographed vistas of Slow West, an intriguingly off-center Western that brings a bevy of European talent to bear on an American frontier story. Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young Scotsman who’s made the journey to Colorado in search of the woman he loves, and Michael Fassbender as a wily companion who turns out to be hunting the same quarry, John Maclean’s impeccably crafted writing-directing debut at times has a distinctly Coen-esque flavor in its mix of sly intelligence, bleak humor and unsettling violence, exuding fierce confidence. Winner of the grand jury prize in the international dramatic competition at Sundance, this off-kilter take on the harsh and absurd realities of frontier life. Founding member of the Beta Band, director and writer, Maclean joins us for a conversation on the similarities and difference between the worlds of film and music and his unique on take on Western archetypes.
“A neo-western that operates in purely mythic terms, Slow West evokes an 1870 America steeped in isolation, heartbreak, suffering, and misery.” – Nick Schager, Village Voice
“An absurdist, melancholy coming-of-age tale that jumps from odd comedy to striking violence to stirring reflection.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
“Not a traditional Western by any stretch of the imagination, Slow West operates in the same manner as such haunting and off-kilter horse operas as Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man and John Hillcoat’s The Proposition.” – Creative Loafing
“One of the most thoughtful, witty, satisfying Westerns of the last decade. “ – Flicks.co.nz