Murder at Yellowstone City is one of those movies you watch and forget about. It’s a passable time killer if one’s hankering for a horse opera – or a horse soap opera – but the murder mystery aspects of the story come up short.
Critics may scoff at The Harder They Fall’s conventions, lamenting that the narrative takes too many diversions into a burgeoning romance and contrives excuses to keep that romance alive. And that is a valid complaint. But The Harder They Fall proves, unmistakably, that a storyteller makes all the difference. No one is ever truly bothered by predictable narratives considering how much time we spend re-watching our comfort classics in place of new material. And sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective, someone painting with a brush that’s just a little bit broader on an already delightful canvass, for us to marvel at a picture all over again.
It is a movie about the pressurised containment of toxic masculinity, and the power of sexual promiscuity. Campion’s film was designed to be an indulgence, one in which the viewer is meant to seep each and every mindful detail out of its rich atmosphere. The beautifully captured Australian plains are cast and feature as a wholly realised character in the mountainous Montana fields. Campion’s watchful eye calculates each visual as its own unique puzzle piece in a bizarre and twisted story.
Clint Eastwood’s glory days as both an actor and director are likely behind him, but he seems comfortable with that. While Cry Macho offers no real narrative surprises, watching him more-or-less play an extension of his own aging persona is fairly enjoyable. The pace and tone may be off-putting to some, but for those who’ve watched Clint evolve from iconic anti-hero to Hollywood’s elder statesman, it’s somewhat reassuring that he can still carry a film…even when being occasionally upstaged by a chicken.
Never Grow Old, starring John Cusack, Emile Hirsch, and Deborah Francois. The film takes place in the pre-war nascent town of Farlow, on the California Trail
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is six individual tales of life and violence in the Old West, following a singing gunslinger, a bank robber, a traveling impresario, an elderly prospector, a wagon train, and a perverse pair of bounty hunters. None of these short tales are connected in anyway and there is no Tarantinoesque intertwining themes here.