Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seraphim Falls

The western is back. There may not be a lot of choice out there, but Seraphim Falls makes an argument to bring the genre back into our consciousness.

We first see Gideon when he's camping in the snowy mountains. Suddenly a shot rings out, and he's wounded in the arm. He starts to run.

The entire movie is his attempted escape from his killers, four men led by the dour Carver, and we don't know why one man is hunting the other until the end.

The most fascinating part of this movie is how Gideon survives. We see him build dozens of fires, in several different ways, which is a mean feat if your hands are shaking from the cold and you're trying to whack the bullet into discharging into the gunpowder. How he hides, how he escapes countless times, and who he meets along the way -- some treacherous, some helpful -- are compelling.

This movie is truly a tour-de-force for actors Pierce Brosnan (Gideon) and Liam Neeson (Carver). If you're a fan of Brosnan, you have to see this movie. If you're a Neeson fan, you should.

But if you're not a fan of either, and find the western an outdated mode of storytelling, you may be bored by the fact that it's a long drawn-out chase. I think the end, and actually the struggle, is worth it. And you also have that gorgeously filmed snowy countryside, and a nifty cameo by Anjelica Houston.

Thumb's up.

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