Kodi Smit-McPhee and Michael Fassbender star in ‘Slow West’, the new western film which is directed by newcomer John Maclean, which dazzles on screen in a quick short burst of what every western film should be. Taking the best of old western classics and compiling them down into a very short 80 minute running time ticks all the boxes for me already. The story follows a 16 year old boy in Kodi Smit McPhee while he travels the west in the 19th century to find and protect the love of his life, and while on his journey, he encounters a mysterious character called Silas who is portrayed by Michael Fassbender. Agreeing to $50 dollars, Silas protects Jay Cavendish (McPhee) across the west safely to his love. John Maclean’s feature debut is a film to be celebrated, especially if you are a fan of classic or modern westerns.
The director oozes influences of Quentin Tarantino and Sergio Leone by the classic western violence that ensues during the film, but I see a hint of Wes Anderson in the costume and set design which again, ticks all the boxes for me! In the short 80 minutes, ‘Slow West’ delivers class, laughs and curiosity in what is essentially a very basic plot. To carry a plot this simple, you have to have the right actors, and ‘Slow West’ delivers that by gifting us with the ever brilliant Michael Fassbender who is on an incredible run of form at the moment, and the continuous form for youngster, Kodi Smit McPhee who now boasts an impressive filmography at the age of 18. His roles include ‘Let Me In’, ‘The Road’, ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and now ‘Slow West’. The young Australian is making a name for him and has already bagged a role in the new ‘X-Men’ film, where he will star alongside Michael Fassbender once again.
Their surprising chemistry in the film helps along the way through the west and because of that, it was enjoyable to just sit and watch the two talk to each other while they rode on their horses through the beautiful landscape of New Zealand and Scotland retrospectively. This slow-burner saves its energy for the finale, just like all good westerns and delivers on a dramatic but highly enjoyable ending. Its very hard to find faults in ‘Slow West’, mainly due to the impressive cast, set design and plot; ‘Slow West’ does what many other modern westerns don’t, and that is entertain, and deliver us a new story to indulge on.
Big, big influences from Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarantino, ‘Slow West’ stuns us with a beautiful landscape to feast our eyes upon along with an entertaining plot which is helped along its way with the continuing form of Kodi Smit McPhee and Michael Fassbender. 4.5 out of 5.