Meek's Cutoff, Grade: B

This is not your granddaddy's Western. Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Mix, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes would not recognize the actions that take place in "Meek's Cutoff." They would not feel at home here, but Gus Van Sant would. Consider Van Sant's 2002 film "Gerry," in which two twenty-something men go off into the desert and forget to bring any food with them. "Gerry" has an opening that would likely drive half the audience to the exits-that's how slow-moving the scenes slide by, setting the tone for the remainder of the inaction. Kelly Reichardt would love that picture. She opens her "Meek's Cutoff" without dialogue for ten or fifteen minutes, her camera person grooving on some long shots of folks in a covered wagon traipsing across the Oregon Trail in 1845 before railroad made the trip outdated. Still its tempting to say that the brave and foolish people making the trip

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