Now here’s a mouth-watering proposition: a Danish western directed and co-written by Kristian Levring, who was the fourth signatory of the Dogma95 movement, made by the Danish film company Zentropa Entertainments which was started by director Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen and which was responsible for over 70 feature films including The Hunt (2013) A Royal Affair (2013) In A Better Word (2010) Donkeys (2010) and most of Lars von Triers output. It gets even more lip smacking when you read the cast list.
Out of the wreckage of the Danish defeat in the war of 1864 Jon (Mads Mikkelson) and his brother Peter (Mikael Persbrandt) crossed the Atlantic to forge a new future for themselves. For seven years they struggled to get a foothold in an unfamiliar land, seven years in which Jon longed for his wife Marie and their son. Seven years is a long time for any family to be apart. The year is 1871 and the country is America.
|Brother Peter (Mikael Persbrant)|
The movie starts with Jon and Peter meeting the train carrying Marie and his ten-year-old son. Peter stays in town while Jon and his family board a stagecoach that will take them to their new home on the outskirts of Black Creek. It’s when two recently released criminals board the coach that a nightmare begins that can only end in violence and death.
|Notorious Gang Leader Henry De La Rue (Jeffery Dean Morgan)|
Black Creek is run by Mayor Keane (Jonathan Pryce) who is in cahoots with an ex Injun fighter and notorious gang leader Henry De La Rue (a menacing Jeffery Dean Morgan) to buy up all the land surrounding the town. Also involved in these underhand goings on are the ineffective town Sheriff (played by Scottish actor Douglas Henshall recently seen in series one of Outlander) and De La Rue’s sister in law Madeline who was rescued from the Injuns minus her tongue (a totally delicious and smouldering Eva Green who is absolutely brilliant despite not having a line of dialogue to say)
Beautifully shot in South Africa by Jens Schlosser, this is homage to the classic western style made famous by Sergio Leone cross-fertilised with Fred Zinnermann’s High Noon (1952). A feature film so obviously made and acted with such great enthusiasm that’s its familiar format can be forgiven. Its traditionally authentic feel will keep you gripped, a Scandinavian movie experience not to be missed.