Writer: Jonathan Raymond
Composer: Jeff Grace
Starring: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson, Rod Rondeaux
More info: IMDb
Plot: Three wayward families are traveling across the Oregon desert in 1845 led by Stephen Meek, an ignorant mountain man. The farther they go, the more lost they seem to be and the farther they are from water - which they are in desperate need of. Some of the travelers start questioning Meek's knowledge and leading abilities, and at that time a native Indian appears on the horizon. Presumably from the area, the families must decide if they want to put their trust in the Indian to lead them to water, or if they should continue to trust Meek since the Indian may just lead them to danger.
My rating: 7/10
Will I watch it again? Yes.
Nice! Great performances, locations, cinematography and so on. For a while it doesn't feel like there's much of a story but that works out beautifully because you're allowed to see wordless moments of mundane daily tasks of settlers making their way across the West. That there's very little music (and what's there feels as dry and harsh as the desert which is perfect for the picture) makes it even better. It's a quieter film than you'd think but that's one of the things I liked most about it. Oddly, it was filmed in 1:37. I wonder why it wasn't shot in a wider format, especially considering the locale. Maybe the wider screen would have given it a certain level of romanticism that the filmmakers were wanting to avoid. The ending isn't typical either. We don't get a conclusion but it's more about leaving the party much like we found them. You won't recognize Bruce Greenwood from his bushy beard and his accent. The Oscilloscope DVD doesn't have much for extras. There's a 9-minute making-of featurette that has very little dialogue and none of it is from anyone telling us anything. It's all footage of the film being made without any clear narrative as if it's just a bunch of extra stuff cobbled together for the sake of having something. Other than that there's the theatrical trailer (fullscreen, of course) and 7 trailers for other Oscilloscope films. It'd be nice to have a commentary since the extras are light but it's still worth checking out.