Ari: After seeing Jack O’Connell for the first time since war film ’71, and previously on Skins, he was at first almost unrecognizable. His scraggled beard and posture was a far cry from the swagger of Cook, and his gentle voice slowly regaining its confidence was played expertly, as was his relationship with the superb Frank Griffin played by Jeff Daniels.
Uncovering their relationship, which was well developed, although their break not fully explained, and the two sides of both characters was compelling, as were the elements of life that are mostly hidden from the traditional Western but were no less a part of life in the frontier West for early Americans, such as the legacy of slavery, and the powerful role that women played in the expansion of Anglo-American culture into a fractious space that was once the exclusive realm of Native Americans.
There is little corn, but there are lighter elements and subplots that distract from the primary theme of the violent anarchy that made up not only life in the American West, but much of the world for much of history, and should remind us why we must treasure the governments, institutions, and order that for the most part hold humans accountable for their actions.
Rating: One nearly pristine amputated arm