This movie is everything but your typical western movie. It simply defies having all the clichéd forms of entertainment that the western movies are known for, and yet packs a solid punch when it comes to the question of quality.
Posing of and possessing sheer quality, it can be labeled as a thinking man’s delight. It shows the story of a Wagon train of three families, who hire help, Stephen Meek to let them across the Cascade Mountains. Taking them through what he thinks is a shortcut, he strands the families in hostile conditions. The movie picks pace from here, with events like hunger, parched throats, and suspicion among the emigrants, becoming the soul of the story. Things take a turn, when they cross ways with a Native American, a part of the society, then looked upon with suspicion and fear. It is here that the three groups are forced to choose between the obvious enemy of those times, or Stephen, who has been nothing short of a disaster for them.
The fight between their instincts and how much they trust them, is what brings the tension up in the film. This movie is deliberately slow-paced with a venomous instinct to capture the attention of anybody and everybody. The tension in the air becomes palpable, not just in the film, but in the air surrounding you, when you watch with tense eyes, and an equally harrowed brain.
Meek’s Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt’s take on ‘Western’, enlivens this timeless, but lesser explored genre. It is abound in moments that get the viewers breath to halt monetarily, in admiration of the director’s precision at weaving an intoxicating storyline.
Although the movie might not impress the lovers of mainstream cinema, it has plenty on offer for those, who enjoy looking beyond the conventions. Worthy of being called an epitome of brilliance in filmmaking, the movie’s climax manages to leave a nostalgic impression. The movie runs full steam with strong characterization, as another asset that will win it many admirers.