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 Ninety Nine: Buffalo Soldiers
What certainly didn’t know how good it was when we had it. The TNT-produced Westerns of the 1990s were not appreciated at their time but as I look back, this was one of the best eras for the modern Western, something Netflix/Amazon should consider replicating. They could be making L’Amour and Zane Grey films on the cheap, capitalizing on the appetite for the genre. My goal is to now track down most if not all the TNT Westerns.
Buffalo Soldiers is one of the best, a moving story with cinema-level photography and stellar performances throughout. Glover does a fine job of leading the show but it’s the supporting parts that standout from Thurman as the one-eyed grizzled soldier to Bob Gunton who does as good of a job playing an honorable colonel here as he did playing an evil warden in Shawshank Redemption. The location photography, shooting in some of the same areas where we made our cavalry picture Counting Bullets, is at once stunning and captures that feeling of unease as the soldiers wonder what’s waiting for them behind the rugged rocks. The music is also on another level for a TV film.
I can’t say enough good things about this powerful film, one of the best cavalry Westerns ever made.
Seen on the Criterion Channel.