Five Fingers for Marseilles
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The New York Times
In stylish and entertaining fashion, Five Fingers for Marseilles looks over the South African countryside and finds fresh vistas for the western genre.
Five Fingers for Marseilles turns out to be an impressively effective and engrossing cross-cultural hybrid that has a great deal more than novelty value going for it.
Los Angeles Times
The ending is both shocking and inevitable. Drummond and Matthews honor the western traditions, classic, spaghetti and revisionist, while creating something stylishly original steeped in the seldom-seen rural and tribal cultures of South Africa.
Five Fingers of Marseilles is simultaneously familiar and unique. As befits a film set in an isolated corner of the pre-and-post-Apartheid country, the movie incorporates its contemporaneous circumstances into the plot.
Five Fingers for Marseilles is a modern day Western, a tale of revolutionary South Africa and its aftermath, a world of blood, revenge, “stepping in” to right a great wrong, and fighting back. It’s a Sotho “Shane,” brutally beautiful and iconic, fraught with symbolism, harrowing in its violence and its consequences.
The Film Stage
Everything you want from a western thematically is present with arch stereotypes of good and evil prevalent but never detrimental to the characters.
Film Journal International
It cannot, unfortunately, boast a taut pace and narrative to match the mood of unease that fills the air like dust in this depressed desert outpost.
The film’s vistas are beautiful and Matthews’s aim, high, but those aspirations are not fully realized in what feels like a first draft attempt at brushing Western customs with textures drawn from a South African palette.
What happens in this neo-western isn't dictated by the tried and true themes of classic westerns but by the films themselves.
There are no thrills in this western yarn, just a mounting series of tragedies that are by turns frustrating and numbing.
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