Five Fingers for Marseilles ★★★

St. Louis International Film Festival Screening #4

A South African Western that veritably drips with giddy cinephilia. Director Michael Matthews has seen a *lot* of movies and wants us to know it. It's the sort of film that's very earnest about its use of narrative, thematic, and visual tropes, but the cartoonishness of some of those tropes makes the whole thing feel a bit like unintentional kitsch at times.

Still: Lots of filmmakers put their own national or cultural spin on the Western genre, and most aren't half as confident or as vivid as 'Five Fingers', which uses its faintly fantastical post-Apartheid setting to striking effect. (*Major* shout-out to the production design crew, from the location scouts to the costume designers to the prop masters.) There's a lot of Sergio Leone in it, a little John Ford and Sam Peckinpah, and drizzles of numerous other influences, many of them inspired: some 'Mad Max', some 1970s Acid Western, some Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and even a touch of Stephen King's 'It'.