Friday, April 21, 2017

Watch This: The Salvation

Recently I’ve had quite a few people discover the movie The Salvation and ask me if I’ve seen it. Well, the short answer is: yes. I saw it a few years ago and loved it. I think it’s the best Western made since Open Range. Although it’s obviously a very low budget movie, the filmmakers did an amazing job of using what they had to tell an extremely impactful story. The Salvation has no time for humor or romance. It's gritty, it’s brutal and it feels real.

Mads Mikkelsen gives a great performance as Jon Jensen, a European settler who is continually beaten down and pushed to his limits by a murderous gang. He is a man of few words and in many ways very Eastwood-esque. Eva Green’s character, Madelaine (the Princess) is unique and fascinating especially given the fact she doesn’t have a single line of dialogue. Jeffery Dean Morgan is the stand-out actor though in my mind. His Henry Delarue is the quintessential evil bad guy and is gloriously despicable. I absolutely love his performance and if I were to make a Western movie, he’d be one of my top choices for the villain.

The Salvation was shot digitally and uses copious amounts of well-hidden CGI (the multiple fires in the last act are all virtual) to make up for its low budget but still stands out as one of the most realistic, dirty and gut-wrenching Westerns in recent years. It’s also perfectly paced at just over 90 minutes. The Salvation is definitely a must-see and truly one of my favorites. 

Vera Cruz (2014)
Director: Kristian Levring
Writers: Anders Thomas Jensen, Kristian Levring
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan