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Slow West

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United Kingdom, New Zealand · 2015
Rated R · 1h 24m
Director John Maclean
Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren Pistorius
Genre Drama, Romance, Thriller, Western

In the Old West, a 17-year-old Scottish boy named Jay Cavendish teams up with a mysterious, stone-faced gunman to find the woman with whom he is in love. But their search is dogged by the pursuit of a dark outlaw every step of the way.

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IndieWire by

Slow West certainly makes a valiant effort to reach beyond expectations of its genre, even leaving room for some welcome tongue-in-cheek humor when it's least expected. But at the end, all its waffling between various stylistic touchstones fails to hold much interest.


The New Yorker by Anthony Lane

The director is John Maclean, making his début, and, if he demonstrates how hard it is to handle whimsy, he more than atones for it with two tremendous set pieces — one in a store, and the other in an isolated homestead, girded with cornfields where a shooter can nestle and hide.


New York Magazine (Vulture) by Bilge Ebiri

If Slow West never quite settles on a tone to call its own, it does still offer many pleasures. Fassbender and Smit-McPhee are excellent — the boy's outward bewilderment and unpreparedness play off well against the cowboy’s ragged, stone-faced charisma.


Time Out by David Ehrlich

Like any good Western, Slow West percolates with the constant threat of violence, but debuting feature director John Maclean wrings the genre for its mythic value.


Variety by Justin Chang

John Maclean’s impeccably crafted writing-directing debut at times has a distinctly Coen-esque flavor in its mix of sly intelligence, bleak humor and unsettling violence, exuding fierce confidence even when these qualities don’t always cohere in the smoothest or most emotionally impactful fashion.


The Playlist by Rodrigo Perez

A dark, but spirited fable about the pitilessness of the West, the meaning of home on the range and the worthwhile qualities of wicked, seemingly irredeemable men, “Slow West” is a terrific little parable, and a strong debut by John Maclean worth treasuring.


Movie Nation by Roger Moore

Maclean and his cast create a sound, tone and feel that makes even a moldy tale like this lean, mean and fresh, even if it never quite transcends the gun smoke of its genre.

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