Country: Denmark / UK / others
Movie Review: “The Salvation”, a Danish western directed by Kristian Levring and co-written with the credited Anders Thomas Jensen (mostly known for Susanne Bier’s dramas), swings between the positive and the negative, escaping from a more severe sentence due to the solid performances from Mads Mikkelsen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, some interesting details on direction, and a great visual design by cinematographer Jens Schlosser. The time is 1817. Jon (Mikkelsen) is a pacific Danish citizen and former soldier who settled himself in America seven years before, in the company of his brother, leaving his wife and son behind with the promise that one day they would join him. That day finally arrived, but instead of celebrate, Jon will mourn his family, killed by two abusive strangers who shared the same carriage that would take them home. Driven by indignation and grief, Jon makes justice with his own hands, never imagining he could still be in trouble. One of the men was the brother of Delarue (Morgan), the town’s savage ruler who swore revenge, ordering the frightened sheriff to bring him the responsible man alive. Jon wouldn’t be able to get away if he hadn’t the help of a 16-year-old boy and Delarue’s mute sister-in-law who was saved from the Indians and now refuses to submit herself to his whims. Clear skies and extensive prairies don’t hide the gloominess of a story whose predictability and far-fetched scenes (a silly escape from prison and a cigar who sets one of the villains on fire) are weighing factors. The finale didn’t satisfy either, proving the steep decline of a Scandinavian western that even started at full steam. It probably might work fine for the admirers of western category, but for me it got stranded in the difficult lands of screenwriting.