Saturday, May 28, 2011

Some Initial Random Thoughts Upon Finally Seeing Meek's Cutoff

Well it took me long enough didn't it!?  Missing out on the screenings at last year's NYFF and unable to procure a screener from the fine folks over at Oscilloscope (my own fault really with my stupid procrastination) I finally got the chance to see Kelly Reichardt's newest film, Meek's Cutoff.  Here are a few rambling thoughts I decided to jot down for your perusal.  A full-length review will be coming in the next few days sometime.  Until then, chew on the following.

  • I love the director's artistic choice to go all old school as it were and film the movie in 1:33 aspect ratio.  Reichardt says she chose this format to make the space seem more closed in and therefore more narrowly viewed like her female character's truncated views of the trail.
  • The always incredible Michelle Williams (and yes, I do have the biggest cinematic crush on the lady and therefore am more than a bit biased) does for the desperate frontier woman what she did for the equally desperate but quite proud lost youth of Wendy and Lucy.  A brilliant actor (and not the sexist term actress either) who can show myriad emotion with just a look through the trees.
  • The cinematography, though physically truncated by modern standards is some of the most gorgeous this critic has seen in a long while.  The bright, unsympathetic sun of an unknown territory to the dark, barely visible scenes by fire or lamp light.  It seems very reminiscent (and probably purposely so) of the westerns of Mann and Hawks.
  • As the final fade comes and the credits (beautifully done as well - what a complete cinematic experience this film is) roll, there came a collective groan amongst the twenty or so patrons around me (behind me actually since I was front and center).  This, like the equally remarkable Wendy and Lucy before it, is far from what one could a movie for the masses.  It is sad but true - the modern moviegoer wants action and adventure and if anything gets even a little off-center, they run for the exits in droves.
  • An all-but unrecognizable Bruce Greenwood as the titular guide with delusions of grandeur should be a candidate for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar come the end of the year (and of course Michelle my Belle should be up for lead, but that is a given) but probably will not even be in the running due to Meek's inevitable obscurity - even though it is critically acclaimed.
  • The methodical, determined pacing, which has become Reichardt's auteurial signature, makes the growing anguish of these three families of wouldbe settlers - almost in a crescendo format - all the more palpable - and all the more inevitably harrowing.
  • To sound like a gushing schoolgirl: I fucking loved this film - and apparently a rather foul-mouthed schoolgirl at that.  The first truly great film of 2011 (which exactly repeats my initial FB status update immediately following the screening and should be used by the filmmakers as a poster blurb), Meek's Cutoff is the first film this year that I have no doubt whatsoever will be amongst my favourites come year's end and my annual best of.
Like I said, a full review (and knowing me, I will have a lot to say) is on the horizon for this week-end, so look out for that (it will be posted here so you don't have to look very far).  Enough said for now though.  Goodnight sweet readers.

No comments: