Slow West

Contemporary World Cinema

SIFF Says:

It’s a few years after the Civil War in Colorado and westward expansion continues full-throttle. A naïve, 16-year-old Scotsman named Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee, THE ROAD) stumbles along on his lovelorn quest to find his young sweetheart, Rose, who fled to America under mysterious circumstances. After being caught in a bind, Jay meets Silas (Michael Fassbender, 12 YEARS A SLAVE), a taciturn frontiersman who agrees to guide the hapless teen—but for a price. As Jay and Silas continue west, meeting rogue elements of every ethnicity and nationality, their motivations are slowly revealed, adding tension to an already uneasy friendship. In director John Maclean’s unique Scottish/Kiwi interpretation of the American Western, the snowcapped crags of New Zealand—framed in vivid, painterly compositions—stand in for the Rockies of the 1870s, which he depicts as a menacing, nearly lawless land that is nevertheless quickly filling up with ambitious immigrants, some more cunning and cruel than others. Maclean subverts the “mismatched buddies” road genre by focusing as much on the consequences of violence as he does on the protagonists’ heroic narrative. SLOW WEST, which won a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, is a remarkably confident feature writing/directing debut for Maclean, who invigorates the brooding story with black humor, viscerally staged shoot-outs, and a refreshing outsider’s perspective on the effects of “manifest destiny.”

No Showtimes Found

submit to reddit
Film Credits
John Maclean
Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn, Rory McCann, Brooke Williams
SIFF 2015