Damsel (2018)


Directed by: David and Nathan Zellner
Country: USA

If the Zellner brothers did surprise me in a positive way with the humorous adventure depicted in “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter”, then they sadly let me down with their newest story “Damsel”, a flimsy Western comedy with monotonous, thinly written characters, pointless dialogue, and unsatisfactory conclusions.

The film started with the right foot and set a lovely mood while capturing a long dialogue between Old Preacher (Robert Forster), a tired veteran of the West, and Parson Henry (co-director David Zellner), a drunkard who nurtures a sincere curiosity about Indians and needs a fresh start to make amends with his mysterious past. However, the film decays when the camera lens focuses on Simon Alabaster (Robert Pattinson - “Cosmopolis”, “The Lost City of Z”), a stranger in town awkwardly carrying a guitar and a rifle on his back and desperately looking for Henry. He convinces the latter to join him in a mission to rescue his pragmatic fiancé Penelope (Mia Wasikowska - “Stoker”, “Crimson Peak”, “Jane Eyre”) from the hands of Anton Cornell (Gabe Casdorph), her alleged kidnapper.


Even with a bizarre public hanging and some animated shootings, the action scenes felt insipid, while the humor didn't improve with the frequent presence of a miniature horse called Butterscotch - was this supposed to be funny? The Zellner’s unconfident pacing and boring narrative remain unchangeable, even when Anton’s disoriented younger brother Rufus (co-director Nathan Zellner) and the amiable Indian chief Zacharia (Joseph Billingiere) join the adventure.

On its own, the beautiful cinematography by Adam Stone (“Take Shelter”, “Midnight Special”) wasn’t enough for us to recommend "Damsel".