First Cow

This movie currently stands at 3.7 stars on Amazon and, honestly, it doesn’t deserve more. So why recommend it? For 90% of its runtime, it’s really good. The story about a remarkably sweet cook, his growing friendship with a wanderer from China, and their struggles to build a life in the barely settled Oregon Territory, is was one of the most enjoyable I’ve seen in the past year. John Magaro is outstanding in the lead. The vision of the West that Kelly Reichardt delivers is dirtier, humbler, and more interesting than almost anything put on screen.

So what’s not to like?

How about the seemingly irresistible tendency of modern indie directors to dole out a savage fate and a great heaping plate of social injustice to their heroes even if it requires absurd, out-of-character behavior and a vicious god from the machine to strike home. I can’t fix the movie (though 10 minutes in the editing room would make it 500% better), but I can help a little. Just start the movie at 7min 45seconds in. It won’t fix everything, but it will be better. (Amazon)

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