The Claim

Film

Westerns

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Having already adapted Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, Winterbottom plays to his strengths by transporting the heart of The Mayor of Casterbridge to the icy mountain wilderness of post-Gold Rush California. From the breathtaking opening panoramas showing the arrival of the determined railroad surveyor Mr Dalglish (a charismatic Bentley) in the remote Sierra Nevada town of Kingdom Come, it's clear this audacious Western was conceived on an epic scale. But what makes this one of the most remarkable British films of recent years is how the use of a heightened visual and aural architecture - the amplified roar of horses, clouds of condensing breath, angular wooden buildings dwarfed by vertiginous mountains - is deepened by a realist approach to acting, costume and design. Its snow settings and gloomy interiors might recall Altman's McCabe and Mrs Miller; but the movie is not so much derivative or revisionist as swimming in a sea of cinematic associations and allusions. Its exhilarating, flowing beauty is fittingly scored by Michael Nyman. The often superb performances are marred only by a certain emotional distance which, finally, renders the film marvellous rather than truly moving.
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Release details

UK release:

2000

Duration:

121 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

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LiveReviews|2
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usman khawaja

miles ahead of the poor imitations of western genre this is a true antegrade reworking of treasure of sierra madre with a charismatic man -wes at its heart . the production design is too good to praise as it will be an insult to simply use adjectives ,for a few hours i was transported to that great gregariously greedy world of lust and violence where any thing can be traded . gold is used as a metaphor or as a curse but it remaind in the background while the real ,grey ,wickedly winsome characters shine in the glory of a great script .wes is a revelation and his character changes like a chameleon and yet he haunts and harrows in this dark classic , the demaeanour of the magnificent movie is difficult to stomach for some as it is a ballad on greed ,violence and lust and suceeds on every count with it's humor intact and the macabre finale is mindblowing . the story of a man who trades his wife and son for the deeds of a gold mine claim and then builds an empire without suffering any pangs of conscience is so reminiscent of real life protagonists from the past . his punitive loneliness ,debauchery and ultimate misery are too real to be comfortable and explain this movies anonymity , i will say this will haunt me like a ghost for a long time to come ,its memorable ,malicious and yet most gratifying cinema indeed . this is a real look in retrospect on how america was ordained and the psychological psycophants of it's inherent centemporary culture are sowed in the materialistic soil in a very mystic but meaningful endeavour -full marks

usman khawaja

miles ahead of the poor imitations of western genre this is a true antegrade reworking of treasure of sierra madre with a charismatic man -wes at its heart . the production design is too good to praise as it will be an insult to simply use adjectives ,for a few hours i was transported to that great gregariously greedy world of lust and violence where any thing can be traded . gold is used as a metaphor or as a curse but it remaind in the background while the real ,grey ,wickedly winsome characters shine in the glory of a great script .wes is a revelation and his character changes like a chameleon and yet he haunts and harrows in this dark classic , the demaeanour of the magnificent movie is difficult to stomach for some as it is a ballad on greed ,violence and lust and suceeds on every count with it's humor intact and the macabre finale is mindblowing . the story of a man who trades his wife and son for the deeds of a gold mine claim and then builds an empire without suffering any pangs of conscience is so reminiscent of real life protagonists from the past . his punitive loneliness ,debauchery and ultimate misery are too real to be comfortable and explain this movies anonymity , i will say this will haunt me like a ghost for a long time to come ,its memorable ,malicious and yet most gratifying cinema indeed . this is a real look in retrospect on how america was ordained and the psychological psycophants of it's inherent centemporary culture are sowed in the materialistic soil in a very mystic but meaningful endeavour -full marks