In a Valley of Violence (2016)
November 11, 2016 5:31 PM - Subscribe

Horror director Ti West (The Innkeepers, House of the Devil) tries his hand at a Western. A mysterious stranger and a random act of violence drag a town of misfits and nitwits into the bloody crosshairs of revenge.
posted by DirtyOldTown (2 comments total)
If a person called this John Wick by way of The Hateful Eight they wouldn't be too far off.

I didn't much care for the hamfisted spaghetti western touches in the title and on the soundtrack, but this is still a solid little B picture that will please fans of Ti West and western aficionados.

I continue to be mildly impressed by Ethan Hawke's evolution into this generation's go-to leading man for better than average genre movies. (The Purge, Predestination, Sinister, Daybreakers, etc.)

John Travolta gives the kind of hammy, but artless performance that used be so common in the first ten years of knockoffs that followed Tarantino's emergence. It's sort of sad seeing Travolta clumsily try to ape his own comeback. Karen Gillan is mostly wasted. But Hawke is solid, Farmiga is interesting, and Burn Gorman and Toby Huss are the kind of character actors whose presence is always a treat.

But while some of this may sound like measured praise, I did definitely enjoy this. West has a way of letting scenes breathe I greatly enjoy. I think there are maybe a dozen or fifteen scenes/sequences in this entire movie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:38 PM on November 11, 2016

Thanks for posting, just watched it yesterday evening. It was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. Fun in a strange way in that I couldn't exactly decide whether to watch it as a parody or a serious reflection on violence and violent tendencies in people. West doesn't make it exactly easy for the viewer himself, juxtaposing scenes in which you cannot help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it with scenes that invoke horror and despair. While the events causing Paul to return to the ways of killing are cruel and horrific, the revenge itself transforms - especially in the final showdown - into an absurdity: just recall how the marshall was killed. In short, this is all very ridiculous and absurd but not in a trivializing manner: violence, in its core, is absurd, and I'm glad that West has managed to represent those close ties here.
posted by sapagan at 1:14 AM on November 12, 2016

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