Slow West ★★★½

Slow West ambles at a pleasingly human pace, alive with colorful characters that look like rough drafts for another Coen Brothers Western, and blessed with a winning touch of magical realism.

Fassbender is just too much talent riding alongside of Smit-McPhee, who plays what he's given just fine, but when you have two thinly drawn characters and cast them with a Giant and a Rookie, the Giant is going to carry the movie. Still, there's just enough amusing storytelling here to keep me engaged, enough to make me realize what a little understated humor could have done for the overbearingly solemn Ain't Them Bodies Saints. It casually and patiently sets stage for a fantastic and furious finale that's worth the ticket price. And its simplistic map of key locations, along with its short list of necessary characters, sent me out imagining a rich stage-play script that might make more of this material.

Over time, I think this film will seem like a pleasant but not particularly substantial diversion. However, right now, in the midst of this ongoing and apparently endless nightmare of comic-book-hero inanity, this feels like a much-needed dose of thoughtful and spacious storytelling for grownups. I'm not hating on superheroes — on occasion, they surprise me with something good. But cinema's revenge of the nerds has made any occasion of moderately thoughtful moviemaking for humans feel as substantial as Shakespeare.

Jeffrey liked this review