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 Three: The Stolen
Netflix has a small collection of Westerns, not classics for the most part but new entries in the genre, most of which went “straight to video”. I’ve found most of them to be near unwatchable and I assumed this film might fall in that category. However, while watching Outlander recently, I noticed that one of his recurring actors (and one of its best) Graham McTavish had a role in The Stolen so I just had to give it a try. I am happy to report this is not just another one of those films I mentioned before.
The New Zealand-set Western features a strong story, carried by solid performances throughout. Like another recent film, it took me a while to accept Alice Eve’s model-like looks. I definitely have a bias against this kind of casting in roles that require grit, however she overcame my doubts and proved to be quite believable in the role. I like that this film shows strong women without falling into the trap so many do of making them cartoon-ish imitations of men. It’s one of the best female-led Westerns in recent years, much better than bigger budgeted attempts like Jane Got a Gun.
The film makes some mistakes in its final fifteen minutes. I didn’t care for the staging of the end scenes however it does not take too much away from what is ultimately a solid modern-made Western.
Seen on Netflix