tisdag 14 december 2021

Old Henry

As long as i can remember, i always wanted to stay in a old wooden cabin, out in the desert. Imagine waking up in the morning, seeing the dusty American desert road, while having coffee, and a whiskey on the front porch. Of course i would be wearing my tight jeans, my cowboy boots, a wood stick with the letters Motörhead, while reading author Fredrik Strage´s book 242 Krönikor. This combination could not be more perfect, and when you think about it, nothing could feel more like the American west than having all of this in a desert cabin. If you don´t know who Fredrik Strage is, i can tell you that he is one of the greatest Swedish icons in history. No one have as much knowledge about everything as he does, If you would ask him about what berries grows on the mountains of Norway, he knows every kind, plus what tea flavors you should have in your tent. He is quite incredible, and i believe he will be the one who survives the Apocalypse, because he knows exactly how to do at the end of days. Speaking about American dusty roads, i am a big fan of old school Western films. I have seen quite a lot of films in this genre, and i still consider the 60´s and 70´s Western era to be the best, where they really made some true classics. But let´s be honest, we did get some really good Western films as well in the 80´s and 90´s. One of my personal favourites, was released in 1992 from director Clint Eastwood, and the film is called Unforgiven. This film is a true love letter to this genre, with an amazing cast that includes legendary actors Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris. Unforgiven takes place in 1880, in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, where The Schofield Kid ( Jaimz Woolvett ) visits Will Munnay´s ( Clint Eastwood ) hog farm, hoping to recruit him to get 1.000 dollars reward, that prostitute Delilah Fitzgerald ( Anna Thomson ) offer to the one who kill the cowboys who slashed her face. Since Will´s farm is in need of money, he accept the offer, but pick up some help along the way. Unforgiven is not only a really well made Western film, but is quite serious as well. And this is exactly why this film is so good, you can actually feel the atmosphere of this film. Clint Eastwood deliver one of his best acting performances in this film, no doubt about that. A must see on Netflix, Amazon Prime or VOD. Since i try and check out Western films every year that´s released, i heard some positive reviews on a film called Old Henry. I noticed while i picked up a DVD copy of Old Henry, that this film has quite a good cast that includes Tim Blake Nelson, Trace Adkins and Stephen Dorff. Is this the perfect Western film to check out this Christmas, or should you read Fredrik Strage´s book 242 Krönikor instead?

Henry ( Tim Blake Nelson ) and his son Wyatt ( Gavin Lewis ) live on an average farm. After discovering a lost horse with blood on the sadle, Henry goes to investigate and finds a near-dead man named Curry ( Scott Haze ) and a cash loot. He brings Curry back to his farm to save his life. Soon after, three outlaws led by Ketchum ( Stephen Dorff ), come to Henry´s farm in search of Curry. Henry manage to convince the outlaws that there is no one there, as the continue to look for Curry. The longer Henry keep this sectret hidden in his home, the more dangerous it becomes for Henry and his son.

I had no high expectations at all of Old Henry, so i am very pleased to say, this may be one of the best Western films i have seen in recent years. In fact, there are so many details that this film did so well, i am quite shocked to be honest. Most films in this genre are usually pretty ordinary, and does not stand out very much. But this is exactly why i am so pleased with Old Henry, for actually delivering something we don´t see very often these days, a Western film that actually takes itself very seriously. So what is it specifically that i enjoy about Old Henry?  Let us begin with the beautiful cinematography by John Matysiak. He have done a wonderful job with this film. You can tell that he really made an effort to make this film look really professional, and capture the right feeling of the time period of the early 1900´s. The costume design works well, where i especially think the main character Henry´s dirty look matches well with his lifestyle. Now, we have to talk about the cast, and of course we have to start with the acting performance from actor Tim Blake Nelson ( who you might remember from the George Clooney film Syriana, well worth watching ) as Henry. I have seen Tim in several films over the years, and this may be his best acting performance i have ever seen him do. Not only does he manage to portrait the character Henry in a realistic way for the early 1900´s, but he manage to capture the pain, and emotions that Henry is clearly carrying, being a poor farmer. Actor Stephen Dorff is known for doing average acting performances, but in this film he actually step it up a level as Kethcum. It is nice to see that he still have something special, as i remember him delivering in the 2012 film The Iceman with Michael Shannon. This is the first film i have ever seen actor Gavin Lewis in, and i am quite impressed of his performance. Old Henry does not only capture the classic Western atmosphere, but also feels a lot more dramatic than i expected. Director Potsy Ponciroli have definetely proved with this film that you can make a very serious Western, with a strong solid story, If you are a fan of this genre, you have to pick up this film on DVD or Blu Ray. Old Henry deserves respect for trying to get this genre back on track, by delivering a film that holds a high level of quality. I lift my cowboy hat off for director Potsy Ponciroli, to show my respect for the work he did on this film. He is definetely the future of Western films, if he will return to this genre. I really hope that he will, and we might actually feel hope for the future.

Rating: DDDD

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