Monday, March 23, 2015

[Review] The Salvation

Danish director Kristian Levring delivers The Salvation, which stars Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Eva Green. This Western tale doesn't stray too far from the path, but that's okay.

Jon (Mikkelsen), a Danish ex-soldier, boards a train with his wife & son, and they get stuck in a car with a couple of despicable gentlemen who aren't so gentle. During an intense scene involving reversals of power, the two men take Jon's wife & son by weapon and push him out of the train. In a tragic manner, Jon finds his family's dead bodies on the road. Afterward, he tracks down the two men and kills them. Don't worry, I know it might sound like I'm giving away a lot of the movie, but this is the setup, all occurring within the first 15 minutes. The ruthless brother (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) of one of the men Jon killed comes looking for revenge, and the lines of good versus bad are clearly drawn.

The setting is so windy and dirty that you feel as though you might get dust in your eyes while watching. There are some starkly picturesque shots of the wide frontier under the moonlight. Mads Mikkelsen's performance is a very Mads Mikkelsen-like performance--stoic and not generating a large amount of outward emotion. But it works for him. On a side note, I can't remember the last time I've seen him on the big screen when he wasn't getting his face pounded in. Eva Green's character is mostly silent and mysterious, and it would've been nice if she had more to do. This is somewhat redeemed late in the game, especially as the story builds to a fiery, bullet-filled climax.

The Salvation isn't as memorable or as haunting as even some of its most recent companions, but it's still one that big fans of the Western shouldn't pass up.


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