Saturday 19 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · Meek’s Cutoff

Meek’s Cutoff

A movie about deadly tedium that is nearly a work of deadly tedium itself

Phil Bacharach May 25th, 2011

Lest anyone thinks otherwise, wandering the Oregon Trail in 1845 was no walk in the park.

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In “Meek’s Cutoff,” director Kelly Reichardt painstakingly reveals the hardscrabble existence of a few pioneers — lost and bereft of water — as they spiral from desperation to panic. It’s a compelling narrative with flashes of enigmatic majesty, but those moments are snuffed out by an unrelentingly glacial pace.

Screening Thursday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, “Meek’s Cutoff” spins from the real-life tale of three couples who hired grizzled scout Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood, “Dinner for Schmucks”) to lead them to what will be a new settlement. Only one problem: Meek is an obnoxious blowhard who claims to know the land better than he does, and the party is hopelessly lost.

They are running out of water, food and patience. Fears worsen when the would-be settlers capture a lone American Indian (stuntman Rod Rondeaux). Can he lead them to water or, as Meek insists, is their prisoner setting them up for an ambush?

Reichardt proved in 2008’s quietly mesmerizing “Wendy and Lucy” that she’s not afraid to make an audience work. And there are impressive elements here, from a solid cast led by “Wendy and Lucy” alum Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”) to a rarely used 4:3 aspect ratio that gives the wide-open prairies a claustrophobic feel.

But “Meek’s Cutoff” is slow to the point of catatonic. Making a movie about deadly tedium that isn’t itself a work of deadly tedium is no small challenge, and Reichardt doesn’t quite succeed.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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