Slow West (2015)

  • Michael Fassbender is fantastic as usual
  • Gorgeous scenery (filmed in New Zealand, which gives it a distinct look)
  • The chemistry between the two leads drives the movie
  • "Lets drift"
  • A different overall feeling to the western genre (not as brash and raw as your typical western)
  • The harsh realities of the American West
  • An exciting shootout at the end of the movie
  • An impressive directorial debut

  • A pretty straightforward story, even for a western
  • Sometimes the tone meanders a bit from being semi-gritty and serious to oddball humor (nothing terrible, but noticeable)
  • Some people have bashed it for being slow paced, I have no idea how they come to this conclusion when the movie is basically 80 minutes
  • Very little information given about his lover, Rose Ross (a few more scenes involving her would have been nice)

Score: 8/10

Slow West may be a pretty straightforward western on paper, but what makes it stand out is that everyone involved in the film gives it their best. From the acting to the gorgeous scenery, the movie looks great. Some have bashed the movie for being slow paced and too simple, but that seems to be the point of the film. We slowly explore the various obstacles that the west had to offer, whether good or bad. And having the main character come from the far east (Scotland) with a different, more optimistic perspective on life, makes his interactions in the American West quite interesting. That being said, the movie holds multiple surprises and enjoyable scenes that showcase the deadly west.

At the heart of the movie, this is a character drama where interactions between characters are meant to be the shining points of the movie. That being said, the movie works because Fassbender and Snit-McPhee are phenomenal together. This is a different take on the western genre (this isn't your father's western), Fassbender plays the typical nomad, but Smit-McPhee plays a fish out of water. He truly does not belong in the west and the movie shows us multiple times where he is flat out helpless. And yes, there is a shoot-out at the end of the movie (can't be a western without a final showdown), but it is the events leading up to this moment that makes the movie pleasurable. Simple western scenarios are spun in a different manner because the characters in said situations aren't made for the brutal western lifestyle.

In an era of film where westerns have become a thing of the past (though they seem to be making a comeback), Slow West is one of the better westerns to come along in quite a long time. And since the movie is only 84 minutes long, the movie is short and sweet and gets to the point very quickly. There is not much to dislike here, especially the beauty of the New Zealand countryside.