GREEN JEANS MOVIE REVIEW: “Slow West” stars Kodi-Smit McPhee (The Road, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, X-Men: Days of Future Past), Caren Pistorius (The Most Fun You Can Have Dying, The Blue Rose [TV series]), and Ben Mendelsohn (Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Dark Knight Rises). It is the directorial debut of John Maclean. It is vaguely set in 1870 where a sixteen-year-old boy named Jay Cavendish (McPhee) travels from Scotland to the old West in America in search of the girl he loves who fled from his town. On the dusty road he runs into a mysterious traveler named Silas (Fassbender) who offers to help the boy find his way with the exception of cash. They run into trouble in their travels, making it only the more difficult journey to be unfolded for both the characters and the viewers.
To be truthful, I don’t understand what the heck I just watched. What is supposedly a Western ended up being something out of a dream this guy, John Maclean (who also wrote this), had the night before (at least that’s what I want to think). My colleague and I, Captain Critic, sat down to watch this beautiful mess expecting something at least moderately reasonable in terms of a somewhat serious film, only to come short being given some pile of horse doo-doo story that this guy pulled out of his rear end. I don’t know what this guy was smoking, but I’d like to get me some of that. This movie is a hodgepodge, ridden with pros and cons that correlate at every turn. Since there are more cons than pros however, I will hit this review with the bad news right out the gate: the plot was a complete mesh of broken thoughts and transitions in tones to the point where you can’t believe what you are seeing upon the screen. About thirty minutes into this film, I looked over Captain Critic and he shared the same expression. This expression was on my face throughout this film: befuddlement. Occasionally I would switch between the casual scoff and unintentional laughter, but it all remained as consistent as this film (which wasn’t very consistent). There are scenes that you will see in this movie that don’t seem to belong to the storyline and it shocked me. Seeing as how most of the scenes in this confusing storyline have nothing to do with the endgame, it would not be a spoiler to mention one: for example, one part involved (and excuse my wording, for this scene is so ridiculous to put in words) Jay walking up to a group of men around a campfire that he wasn’t apart of. He sat down with these men, being drunk, as one of them shared a stupid story, displayed in a flashback, about a joke that went wrong which resulted in an accidental murder. It had nothing to do with the story at hand and ended up killing momentum as well as my sense of what to make of it. Certain things like this make me wonder how a movie with very little plot to hold onto can have so much to talk about. It will make you scream on the inside and question every bit of dialogue that comes out of the words of these hollow figures. Speaking of dialogue, everything that is said is poetic-like, with several “inspirational” hogwash sentences that no man growing up in these times would dare say. I felt like this was Shakespearean work, like I am out of the loop because of how wordy and senseless these characters’ exchanges are. But the problem is, you aren’t supposed to get it. There is no hidden meaning to these words. All that they say is calendar talk (what you find on your calendar to get your day going). Another deeper discussion I must have on this is the muddled tones throughout. There are times where you feel like they are being serious, but then you get slapped in the face with some pairs of butt cheeks on the screen (yes, this happened). It makes it hard to write this review because I don’t know what the writer was shooting for when he made this: drama or comedy? It seems like a mixture of both, with comedy raining heavier than drama. I believe what makes this movie even harder to get into is the musical score. What is supposed to be some banjo-playing, penny-whistling, yokel orchestra (at least in my opinion), we are stuck with some Pride and Prejudice Bach that makes me want to go to a ball and dance with Cinderella. It’s depressing. You’d see Michael Fassbender smile on the screen and expect light-hearted sounds to play, but instead get something that makes you feel woeful. This film is a basket-case to say the least, and most respectable, but I must put out the few pros I found with this movie. The first, and foremost, being the cinematography. Golly day, this has Wes Anderson’s fingerprints all over it, and that is what I love. It is a blatant copy, but because of how there aren’t many Wes films out it is serviceable to my hunger. The wide shots of mountain ranges, the backdrop displaying a whole room of the house, and the close-up shots of little knick-knacks serve as a great representation. Along with Wes Anderson, I felt a mingling of Coen brothers as well, often referring to their film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Of course that movie was better than this, but it makes me feel better to point this out knowing a lot of knowledge on movies (that is the only kick out of being knowledgeable in the field). The second pro has to be the acting. There were some people who weren’t on their A-game, especially with some poor excuses for accents, but people like Michael Fassbender really make you want to like this movie. Finally, the last pro is there are some scenes that are really good. Mainly the trading post scene. It just brings a seriousness and feel of the West to the table, and it is something I wish I saw more of. Overall, this is a film I wanted to like badly, even while sitting through an hour and twenty minutes of it, but I came up short. It didn’t feel like a Western, but more on the lines of something Gary Busey would come up with. I’d say that it’s fun to look up clips just to see the scenery and laugh at how horrible some scenes are, but the film in general should be skipped. FINAL SCORE: 41%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: