Slow West

Slow West

Slow West

Sundance-winning western, the feature debut from writer-director John Maclean. Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) is the mysterious companion of a teenager (Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In) as they traverse 19th century frontier America in search of the young man’s long-lost love. The film was shot in the New Zealand town of Twizel, Canterbury.

"Jay (Smit-McPhee) is a lovelorn 17-year-old Scottish aristocrat who travels to the American West at the close of the 19th century to track down his former lover. Confronted with the harsh realities of the frontier, he falls in with a rough and mysterious traveller named Silas (Fassbender), who soon discovers that the focus of Jay’s affection has a price on her head. Together, the two navigate a vast, untamed wilderness while attempting to stay one step ahead of a bloodthirsty posse and colourful bounty hunter. Their search leads to a bloody confrontation where Jay’s romanticism is the first of many casualties." (Sundance Film Festival)

Maclean, who was also a musician for The Beta Band and The Aliens, co-wrote a few of the songs on the film's soundtrack. "I wanted to use music in the same way as a film like Deliverance did," Maclean explains. "I was hoping if I put enough music in it, I wouldn’t have to put any music on it.”

World Cinema Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance Film Festival 2015; Cinematography, Production Design and Best Score, NZ Film Awards 2017
2015Rating: R13, Violence & offensive language84 minsUK, New Zealand
ActionWestern

Streaming (3 Providers)

Slow West / Reviews

Flicks, Liam Maguren

Flicks, Liam Maguren

The title Slow West might have you worried that you’re in for a long, boring, pretentious Western. Thankfully, writer-director John Maclean’s striking feature debut is the opposite kind of Western – it’s refreshingly concise, running shy of 90 minutes; it’s cleverly paced, using quieter scenes to elevate the impactful ones; and it’s uncompromisingly intelligent, never once turning into pompous art-wank.

Full review
Variety

Variety

Has a distinctly Coen-esque flavor in its mix of sly intelligence, bleak humor and unsettling violence...

Full review
Time Out

Time Out

Like any good Western, Slow West percolates with the constant threat of violence, but debuting feature director John Maclean wrings the genre for its mythic value.

Full review
The New York Times

The New York Times

An absurdist deconstruction of classic Hollywood westerns whose 21st-century view of frontier mythology is as sardonic as that of the Coen brothers.

Full review
The Guardian

The Guardian

The word “slow” in the title is no lie, but the movie is far from boring.

Full review
The Dissolve

The Dissolve

Often feels like the Coen brothers’ rendition of True Grit, if they’d brought Wes Anderson in as a collaborator.

Full review
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

A western fable with an often dreamlike vibe... proves to be a surprisingly sly tale of passion, greed and survival.

Full review
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

Maclean's screenplay is unshowy but keen.

Full review