4 July 2011 | elmoworx
Another in a long line of pretentious Canadian films. Too often, I see Canadian film makers who think they have to display all manner of pseudo-intellectual, artsy nonsense in order to convince the viewer that the Canadian movie experience is more cerebral and enlightening than those gauche, low-brow US movies. Harumph!
And yet they borrow every US-based visual trick to make their films. The result is a lurching Frankenstein monster that sends me running for my torch light and pointed stick.
This movie is visually ugly, with jerky cutaway shots that make me think they are trying to do a style job a la Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula." Coppola shows us how it's done when done well; sorry guys, but you show us what it looks like when done badly.
This could have been a beautiful, interesting Western if they'd have stuck to some of the more traditional elements of the genre. I'm thinking something along the lines of "The Assassination of Jesse James..." Obviously, they didn't have a Brad Pitt budget, but my opinion is that they wasted too much cash on the unnecessary visual junk.
And speaking of cash, I imagine the constraints of Canadian government funding also put the strangle-hold on their efforts. There is little funding to be had for Canadian art unless it screams pretentiousness and faked intellectualism.
You want to know something? When I watched this one on Netflix, I never knew it was Canadian by its description. It was listed as a Western and I love Westerns, so I picked it out. Two minutes into it, I had it pegged as a Canadian film. Go figure.
And in case you're wondering, I am Canadian, myself, and I do like some Canadian flicks. "The Saddest Music in the World" is one of my faves. It shows that you can be quirky without being a snob about it. That is a FUN movie, filmed (in an old warehouse in Winnipeg) with Vaseline smeared on the camera lenses. Nothing high-brow or snooty, here, folks! HA HA HA!!
Ahem...back to the review.
The characters in this one are unpleasant. Dwight Yoakam is fun to watch, but he can't carry such a heavy load on his shoulders alone. I'm not going to lay out the details of bad characters - suffice to say there was no character that I could root for, or get behind, or cheer for!
In the long run, I guess it's all about personal taste, so I would never tell a person to pass this one by. The fact that people made this movie (presumably with some enthusiasm) is testimony that SOMEONE out there is interested in this type of thing. But it ain't me, Babe. No, no, no...it ain't--
Well, you get the idea.
Be forewarned, is all. It's called a Western, but doesn't feel like one. Not by a long shot. It feels like you're standing in an allegedly upscale museum, where people are expected to praise every splatter and smear simply because they've been told that it's art.
I don't consider my tastes to be low-brow. I am fully capable of appreciating cerebral works. Actually, I enjoy movies of all genres. The only thing I ask is that it entertains me. Entertains my eyes, my ears, my imagination. This one did none of those things.