First Cow (2019)

Kelly Reichardt directs John Magaro, Orion Lee and Toby Jones in this Western drama where two settlers in Oregon fall into a scheme where they steal milk from the only cow in the region each night.

Kelly Reichardt is one of those directors whom I admire but have yet to see that movie which unlocks their work for me (though I do remember seeing Old Joy when it was first broadcast on UK TV and making a note of it). First Cow comes closest to winning me over so far, I’ve not seen Certain Women yet. It feels like two minor characters from Deadwood have had their fan edit. With all the villains and anti-heroes left abandoned. And to wit, there is a certain degree of Beckett’s Waiting For Godot or Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to their minor, but focussed deeply on to, story. See also Steptoe & Son and Only Fools & Horses in terms of the relationship dynamic, only set in the “settling” of America. I’m surprised there aren’t more of these pre-Wild West, pioneer stories. There’s something fascinating about the immigrants who claimed America as their own. The people who created this risky dominion were rarely the winners of their previous communities – and that makes for fascinating dramatic possibilities. Reichardt seems attuned to this – her cinema is never overcooked or weighed down by forced complexity. Fable-like. Low key, small scale, convincing in its brevity of detail… you can’t help but be won over by these two ratty hopefuls’ dishonest scheme and mild mannered dreams.


Perfect Double Bill: The Revenant (2015)

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here


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