Movie Review: Slow West

Slow West knows how to kick it in gear. Photo Courtesy: A24 Films
Slow West knows how to kick it in gear when needed. Photo Courtesy: A24 Films

By Faye Darku

Don’t let the title fool you. Slow West is not your typical western movie. Actually it’s kind of all over the place and in no hurry to tell you the story, but in the best way possible. It’s a bit of a thrill all the way to the end that has you asking “What’s exactly going on?” And if Tarantino style gun violence exploding out of nowhere, dead bodies and skeletons laying around and finding your lady love is your thing then this is the movie for you.

The film centers on a naïve 16-year-old Scottish boy, Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as he travels across 19th Century frontier America looking for the girl he loves, Rose Ross (Caren Pistorius), while accompanied by cool bounty hunter Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender), who possibly is on the journey to cash in on a bounty on Rose’s head.

Musician turned director and writer of the film, John Maclean does a brilliant job meshing all aspects of the film into a roller coaster of delicate dialogue and emotions. His cheeky sense of humor and violent humorous scenes has you laughing at one point and moments later has you confused. Slow West commands your full attention to fully understand the film.

Early on in the film, Jay was walking in the woods when he hears gun shot and sees a Native American man running towards him and past him. He then encounters a man chasing after the man running away. A quick exchange of dialogue and the man points a gun at Jay. Seconds later Silas show up to protect the boy. The relationship between the two main characters Jay and Silas blossoms out of nowhere but Maclean develops their relationship well as they get deeper into their journey through the “Slow West”. You start to see Silas for who he is as he keeps his true motives a secret from Jay.

The acting is honestly what makes the movie what it is. There’s only a few other actors that could have played the character of Silas as well as Michael Fassbender. Fassbender seems to be giving of a bit of Clint Eastwood vibes in his younger years and Kodi Smit-McPhee gives of the innocent and desperate appearance needed to play Jay. While there are other characters in the movie their roles are mainly used as part of the violence. While the films ending could have you screaming or saying “I saw that coming” it’s definitely worth the watch.