A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
We see the covered wagons pass across the screen in the dry, arid, and unforgiving terrain. It is 1845 and three families are travelling the Oregon Trail led by revered trail guide Stephen Meek. Deciding to take what he claims to be a known short cut, the group soon finds themselves lost and unable to find water. When they come across a Native American who may or may not be tracking them, they take him has their prisoner and struggle against the language barrier to have them lead them to water. This, on top of the current situation, creates even more tension between those who are divided on what should be done with their new captive. Directed by Kelly Reichardt, Meek's Cutoff is a paced and measured film that takes awhile to get the rhythm of. Filled with beautiful scenery captured by wonderful direction, the movie is wonderful to look at. The performances are quite good as well including Bruce Greenwood as the experienced but questionable guide, Will Patton as the good and resolute leader of the clan, and Michelle Williams, who starred in Reichardt's equally great Wendy and Lucy, is powerful as the strong young woman who stands up to Meek. Meek's Cutoff is a very fine film but I had a quibble with the format it was shot in. I'm not an expert in film formats, but here both ends of the film are lopped off and we are left with a square in the center of the screen that leaves much of the screen unused. The result is what may be the first time that I have ever recommended waiting to see a great film at home.