Is the Western on Its Way Back?

so it’s missing some buzz to fit the definition? come on :stuck_out_tongue:

Technically it does fit the definition … but only just.

My humble opinion, of course. :wink:

but why? It has all the ingredients: takes place in the semi-lawless west, has gunslingers, stagecoaches, saloons, duels, horses, rifles, etc… what buzz is it missing?

I think Brimstone is excellent. One of my ten favourite non-spag westerns? Maybe. Close to my top ten, anyway. Not quite the “Sunday afternoon, nodding off after a big lunch” viewing fare that most westerns are, though. Grim stuff.

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I think that is just background detail … it’s not at the forefront of what the film is really about.

It’s a story that could take place in a variety of locations or eras … it just doesn’t seem like a western at it’s core. Much like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer … mid 1800s America, but not a western as such.

But actually many famous westerns “could take place in a variety of locations or eras”. And hey, our sub-genre starting FoD is a pretty good example for that …

Maybe it just sits in that grey area between what definitely does and what definitely does not constitute a western. Personally, I think Brimstone qualifies. @aldo doesn’t and I can readily see where he’s coming from on that. He mentions Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer which I’d agree wouldn’t really qualify as westerns although, conversely, I’d understand other people thinking that they did. For me, Twain’s Finn/Sawyer tales feel like they’re set just a bit too early to qualify (they’re set in the 1830s/40s) but, paradoxically, I think The Revenant (Iñárritu, 2015) fits just fine despite being set 15 years or so before Huck Finn. And, again, I could understand why folk might not agree that The Revenant fits at all. For my money, The Proposition (Hillcoat, 2005) is one of the finest westerns I’ve ever seen, and yet for many that would categorically not qualify as a western whatsoever, and they’d have a valid point for obvious reasons.

All a big blur, see.


Valid points, gentlemen - and for the ‘record’, I don’t actually mind if this qualifies or not … it’s just my take on it.
Hypothetically, if I were asked to describe the type of film this is to someone who knew nothing about it, then ‘Western’ would not be the first word that sprung to mind.

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A witchy-western? Could go either way of course but it looks plenty interesting to me. :+1:

From what’s been said and the bits I have read about it, American gothic (Not horror) is the term I think of.

I spoke to Martin Koolhoven once, on a film festival, about nine or ten years ago, and he then had completely different plans for his western project. He wanted to do a comedy western, but wasn’t sure that was the best thing to do . He obviously changed his plans. I don’t think a comedy western would have been a good idea, but I must admit that I’m not very fond of the movie he eventually came up with. It’s a typical Dutch movie, a tale about religious fanatism and madness. Religious mania is the subject of many a classic novel in Dutch literature (Jan Wolkers and Maarten 't Hart both became famous for novels set within strict protestant contexts) and when watching Brimstone, I often had the feeling that Koolhoven was dealing with a few very bad personal memories and experiences. And yes, I think the whole thing would’ve worked better as a novel. I hardly ever had the idea that I was watching a ‘western’

Bad_Lieutenant started a thread for Brimstone as early as May 2009, when its title was supposed to be The Ugly – or maybe it was a completely different film altogether. In any case, Brimstone had a long gestation until it was released in 2016.

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Some details on an upcoming Netflix production


This could be an interesting film: Stephen Johnson’s High Ground, an Australian Western from 2020, soon to be released by Koch Media on DVD and Blu-ray.

Yes I saw it at the Berlinale and wrote a mini review on on it - it’s … alright. Adds nothing new to the genre and is pretty grim, but fans of depressing Aussie frontier dramas with their usual dose of racism, slaughter and jungle will like it :slight_smile:

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Could prove interesting, I’d be curious to see how Tom Hanks handles a Western

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Full trailer