Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.
Week 134: Seraphim Falls
I’m catching up on some 21st century Westerns I missed over the years. Seraphim Falls has been on my radar for a while. The film begins with much promise. In fact, the first 20 minutes are near perfect as Neeson and his men track Brosnan through the wilderness, with the later not saying a word of dialog. It feels like this could have been the entire movie, a survival Western reminiscent of The Edge but the filmmakers get restless and choose to complicate the narrative.
What follows is a mixed bag. Some of the interactions work well, like the bizarre encounter at the water hole with Wes Studi, and others just drag the story down. Also some feel totally misplaced. The scenes with Anjelica Huston are good but feel like they should have come earlier in the picture. I did not like that Neeson and Brosnan’s confrontation, which we have waited so long for, felt like a finale but then was extended into more chasing. By this point in the film, we’ve seen enough and the emotions are dulled by repetition.
Both leads are quite good though the script does not do their characters justice. Each of them needed more time to show their thought process and grief that leads to the decisions made in the final moments of the movie. Since the filmmakers spent more time on other things, the ending feels undeserved when it could have been poignant.
Watched on Tubi.