OUTLAWS AND ANGELS (2016)
The past few years we have seen an influx of westerns being made from movie companies lately. The western is a film that was beloved back in the later days of film-making and there are a tremendous amount of classics in and around that era. Clint Eastwood's "Man With No Name" franchise and the Django spaghetti westerns of the 60's thru 70's are just some that come to mind but the western in the modern era is a scarce genre. No reason why but it could easily be that the genre was just considered stale or let alone a genre no one wants to put their name to. But in the past 2 years the western has found new life in the form of up and coming directors taking a chance and having it pay off.
Many ask why is that? The reason being is that people want violence and back then in the old west there was nothing more than violence around every corner. So making a film about a group of outlaws riding i to town and robbing a bank and then eventually having it go south leading into all out chaos and people get blown away. It's this violence that people want to see today. You can assume its because today's society is built around blood and gore as a norm or that we are just plain sick. I want to think its because we are just so use to this stuff that nothing phases us.
Outlaws and Angels a western that doesn't shy away from that grindhouse feeling of what a spaghetti western was back in the 70's when the first few minutes we are introduced to our marauding outlaws as they rob a bank and end up killing people. A young woman's face is blown off and its just like a classic shoot out scene. After they escape we are introduced to the main character of the outlaws who is played by Chad Michael Murray who is practically hard to recognize by the facial hair and dirt covering his face. This part to me through out the movie has led me to say that this is perhaps his most profound role he has ever played and is perhaps his finest performance.
It's after taking the long route to evade capture from Luke Wilson whose portrayal in this film is lackluster at best because he is more a comedian than he can be taken seriously in a film like this. But its after some travel do they find a farm that is in the middle of their route and they take the family inside hostage. A family that is following the path of god and rules set down by the parents that they are to be pure and innocent in the eyes of god. But that image is soon discovered to have been tarnished when all the dirty secrets are revealed when the father is questioned about his incestuous ways with his daughters. Blaming the devil and booze it doesn't take much for you to hate the character after this revelation and the one daughter turns on her family and kills her sister for bullying and hating her. The climatic end that is more shocking than the entire film itself.
Frances Fisher and Francesca Eastwood, mother and daughter team up in different roles in this film. Eastwood's portrayal of a daughter torn up from the inside over her past and the moment the outlaws show up and disrupt her life just more. She is powerful and vengeful all in one making this role her best. The movie itself has its dull moments of too much dialogue but its tensions between religion and sexual intentions as seen in a scene between Teri Polo's character and one of the outlaws who forces himself upon her. All of this makes for a wild ride on the western front. Hands down this is a western that people should see and not pass up. If you are the person who passed on films like Bone Tomahawk or Diablo then this is not the film to pass up on because it is easily one of the best western's to come out this year so far.
reviewed by Bucky