Friday, February 3, 2023
As a bonus for the audience the night I went to see it, the theater owner had a Q&A after the film with its writer-director, Nickolaus Swedlund, and the actor who plays the heavy, Andrew Wheeler. Not counting that interesting opportunity – like a live, in-person DVD extra – here are the Three Scenes That Made It For Me: (1) Sister Hildegard (Tiffany Cornwell) tearfully tells ne'er-do-well Weston (Daniel Bielinski) that she'll "pray for him" after he insults her faith in the most brutally hurtful way. It was observed during the Q&A that "I'll pray for you" is a Christian's strongest insult, like a southern belle's "Bless your heart." (2) Anytime Shaw (Wheeler) starts giving his speech about how his daddy taught him (and he repaid the favor) that there's a way to insert the knife so that it isn't the wound that kills, but the removal of the blade. What a monster! (3) Weston has a final shoot-out with Shaw, and for a frozen moment, you don't know which of them has wounded the other. Wheeler himself described it as a moment from a samurai movie.
You may have to look hard for this movie, because it won't go into wide theatrical distribution, though I think it will stream online pretty soon and maybe go out on DVD. In theaters, I think it mostly played across North Dakota last year, and folks in my town are fortunate to have a local movie theater owned by a film school classmate of Swedlund. It's worth a look, though – an artistically powerful western film the likes of which are hard to make when star power is attached to it, proving that you don't need a star to have power.
Posted by RobbieFish at 10:45 AM
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