Set in America during the late 1870’s, Jon Jensen (Mads Mikkelsen) finds himself intent on extracting revenge on the men responsible for the barbaric murder of his wife and young son. Fuelled with vengeance and very little help from authority and people around him, he begins realising that the killers are involved with a gang that rule the town, headed by Henry Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). A really good and relatively realistic western worthy of the ninety-two minute runtime.
Director: Kristian Levring
Writers: Kristian Levring, Anders Thomas Jensen,
Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eric Cantona
The movie on a whole was extremely dark and intense at times. Straight from the off, Jon Jensen suffers heartbreak and that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the flick. As a viewer, you found yourself feeling emotional but helpless at the same time. This was a common trend throughout, especially when the gang that ruled the town were aimlessly killing off citizens at will with no second thought and no repercussions. Even the soundtrack used by the filmmakers had an unbelievably sinister and downbeat feel to it that only added to the atmosphere.
One thing to note would be the fact that this movie wasn’t quite as clear cut as many would think, despite the relatively simple and easy to comprehend revenge-based storyline. Throughout the flick, there was several little twists and turns that led the viewer down a path that they weren’t necessarily thinking the film would go down. None of which were confusing, but they were somewhat surprising and definitely impacted the film’s primary direction.
Several of the action scenes that took place within the beautiful and picturesque setting of South Africa, were extremely realistic and very well shot – none of which were too blockbuster and had you scratching your head in disbelief like many similar films of this fashion.
In terms of the cast – the stone-faced and extremely intimidating Mads Mikkelsen really fit well into the role of Jon Jensen, as the actor seems to do in every character he adopts, while Jeffrey Dean Morgan did equally as well as the primary villain and gang leader – Henry Delarue. His presence was felt throughout every scene he was involved in and he really gave off an eerie and unnerving vibe.
Elsewhere, something that surprised me was the fact that Eric Cantona had a pretty poignant role as Delarue’s right hand man. Some of the rather bizarre facial expressions he was seen pulling were a little bit of a guilty highlight throughout the flick and in fairness to the former footballer, he didn’t particularly look out of place in this Western.
Ultimately, a very well made and enjoyable film that didn’t necessarily have to step out of second gear and provide the viewer with something unique or extraordinary. With that being said, it still found a way of keeping things entertaining with a less than predictable plot.
“I underestimated you, soldier.”Henry Delarue – The Salvation