Slow West

Rated 4.0

Michael Fassbender just keeps on rolling with this one, a gritty, appropriately downbeat Western from writer-director John Maclean. Fassbender plays Silas, a cynical, grouchy rider on the American frontier in the 19th century who comes across Jay, a Scottish boy (Kodi-Smit McPhee) who is traveling alone in search of Rose (Caren Pistorious), a girl he loves. She and her father had to flee to America after an accident, and now they have a bounty on their heads. Silas, knows of the bounty, but he doesn't tell Jay. After coming across a group of bandits led by Payne (the ever reliable Ben Mendelsohn), Silas must decide on whose side he's going to back, the boy or the bandits. It's a great ride, with a vivid depiction of the Old West unlike any I've seen before. By the time the action reaches Rose's farm, a single house out in the middle of nowhere, you get a true sense of just how few people were inhabiting that part of the world at this particular time. McPhee is heartbreaking as a young man who just doesn't get it, and Fassbender continues to prove he's a cinematic treasure. They make for a great screen duo, and I'm very interested in seeing what this Maclean fellow does next. (Available for rent on iTunes, and On Demand during limited theatrical release).