Director: Kristian Levring
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eric Cantona, Mikael Persbrandt, Jonathan Pryce
Running Time: 92mins
Jon Jensen (Mads Mikkelsen) is awaiting his wife and son to arrive in the Old West. He left them to make a better life for them all in America. He and his brother have set themselves up near the town of Black Creek.
It doesn’t take long for the film to get into motion. The stagecoach that Jon and his wife Marie and their son Kresten is all set to depart when the other occupants are asked, forcefully, to leave to let some other occupants ride. This happens to be Paul Delarue, just released from prison, and his companion Lester. They set about being drunken, disrespectful and threatening to the family, ending with a stand off in the tight confines of the stagecoach, Paul’s gun pulled on the newly reunited family. This tense scene ends with Jon being ejected from the carriage as the two antagonists ride off with the rest of his family, with Jon unable to stop this happening.
When Jon eventually catches up, he finds his son murdered and his wife raped and killed and he takes matters into his own hands by gunning down both Lester and, quite brutally, Paul too.
Paul’s brother, Henry (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), has turned up in the town to meet his newly released brother only to find him dead. Much fury ensues, with Henry taking it out on innocent people. To top it all off it seems he was running a protection racket on the town, which has just had it’s rate doubled until they bring him the person responsible for this attack against his brother.
This untenable state of affairs leads to the Black Creek townsfolk giving up Jon to the Sheriff, who in turn secures him for transfer to Delarue. Now it appears to me that Jon and the Black Creek townsfolk were presented with similar options. Both were being threatened with violence and were in a situation where they weren’t in control. Jon stayed and fought to regain control whereas the townsfolk gave in to the bully.
At the funeral of Paul we meet Madeline (Eva Green), Paul Delarue’s widow. It appears that Madeline was rescued by Paul Delarue from some natives and has been under Delarue control ever since, first Paul and now Henry. It later becomes obvious that she isn’t on the side of the Delarue brothers but is merely under their control.
After being given up by the townsfolk to Henry, Jon is rescued by his brother and after making the escape, Henry sends out a posse of men to find him again who do not manage to catch Jon but end up catching and drawing Peter behind them as they ride past Jon’s hiding place.
The inevitable showdown between the two men builds as Jon plans and attacks Henry’s encampment in a ramshackle part of town. This is a decent sequence, with plenty of action and build-up as he gets closer and closer to having Henry in his sights.
Visually this is a wonderful film to look at. Great vistas and wonderful colours varying from the brightness of the daytime yellows and browns to the dark, almost chromatic blues and greys of night.
What does stand out in all this, as you can see below, is Henry Delarue’s bright red coat, in stark contrast to the drab, faded greens, blues and browns of the others. It certainly does reflect in his actions as he is powerful and full of rage and passion and has no discernible conscience about other’s wellbeing.
Overall I enjoyed this film, it didn’t drag on too long and didn’t have any dull moments, there was a sub-plot that ran through the film but didn’t really affect the main story too much. The ending could have been a bit grander for my liking but it was acceptable in the frame of the storyline. Some good action and tension alongside some good performances from the leading characters by Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and even though she didn’t speak, Eva Green.