Film Review: The Salvation

The Salvation

Kristian Levring’s The Salvation is a suitably entertaining Western. For all its style, however, the film fails to imprint its own mark on the genre.

Danish settler Jon has built a life for himself in 1870s America. Tragedy strikes when his family arrive in the country, forcing on to take matters into his own hands…

The Salvation follows that familiar old Western trope of revenge. The film’s premise is simple; this is a story about pay back. Usually with this type of film, the pressure lies on the execution of the action. Although action sequences function well to accelerate the pace in The Salvation, they not not meet the cathartic need. This is in part due to the lack of character development.

The Salvation offers little in the way of three-dimensional characters. The audience is not really given much of an opportunity to get to know the film’s protagonist. The situation presented in the film’s opening is traumatising to Jon. Yet little personality is given to the character. His brother Krestan is given a little more in the way of depth. The choice to have the main female character as mute perhaps represents women’s place in this era and environment.

The subplot of the land grab offers little distraction. Its inclusion offers reasoning behind the rule of fear. However, this strand is not fleshed out sufficiently. It merely seems like a device to provide some contemporary resonance or reasoning. Perhaps if the central character had been given more depth, The Salvation would have successfully functioned solely on its revenge hinge.

The use of colour is striking in the beginning of The Salvation. The film looks every inch the Western, with a level of authenticity to the look of the Wild West outpost. Visual effects are poor, however. Mads Mikkelsen delivers a decent performance as Jon. Eva Green is a striking figure, whilst Jeffrey Dean Morgan chews scenery as the cartoonish villain.

Ultimately, The Salvation lacks the mettle of a classic revenge story. The protagonist is not enough of a victim, or a hero, for viewers to really root for him. The film plays out appropriately, but lacks significance.

Trailer Round-Up

It’s all about the Avengers: Age of Ultron latest trailer this week, but there is plenty more besides…

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The latest trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron looks ever so exciting. The film has a tough act to follow with the success of its predecessor, but from this trailer it looks up to the job. Avengers: Age of Ultron launches on to the big screens on 23rd April 2015 in the UK.

Mr Holmes

Mr Holmes offers a different take on the famous detective. Ian McKellen plays an older Sherlock Holmes, retired and living in a remote farmhouse, who tackles an unsolved mystery. Mr Holmes is out on UK screens on 19th June 2015.

While We’re Young

Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young sees the writer-director team up with Ben Stiller again. Also starring Naomi Watts and Amanda Seyfried, While We’re Young focuses on a middle-aged couple and the disruption in their lives caused by a younger couple. The film is released in UK cinemas on 3rd April 2015.

The Face of an Angel

Inspired by the killing of British student Meredith Kercher in Italy, The Face of an Angel examines the obsession with violent stories, whether fictional or real. Michael Winterbottom’s film, starring Kate Beckinsale and Daniel Brühl, is out in UK cinemas on 27th March 2015.

The Salvation

Mads Mikkelsen is the protagonist in western The Salvation. Also starring Eva Green and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the film focuses on a man who avengers his family, and the consequences of this. The Salvation hits UK screens on 17th April 2015.

Film Review: The Resident

The Resident should leave you questioning the safety of your home and who has access to it. Instead, it is more likely to leave you questioning why you spent ninety minutes watching this tripe.

ER doctor Juliet is looking for a new apartment after her husband cheats on her. Finding a spacious but very affordable place in Brooklyn, Juliet can’t believe her luck. Her good fortune is short lived however, as someone is watching her from within her apartment…

The Resident has numerous factors conspiring against it. Most important of these is the fact that the film is not actually frightening at all. There is certainly an air of creepiness to proceedings, but the film fails to generate any genuine scares. Scenes that should cause apprehension fall flat thanks to lacklustre direction from Antti Jokinen. Instead, the film is voyeuristic but lacks a sense of trepidation.

The Resident owes a great debt to Psycho with its plot. The narrative is a lot less credible than Hitchcock’s film, however. There are some standard horror movie set-ups; the phone without reception, for example. The violence is kept to a minimum until the climax. The voyeurism is at best unsettling, though it never crosses over to become genuinely troubling.

The Resident is not exactly what would be expected from Hammer Film Productions. It has the guise of a horror film, but in reality it is a more straightforward thriller (albeit without the thrills). The film stars Christopher Lee in a small role, adding to this horror pedigree. Nonetheless, while Lee seems to bring a certain gravitas to all his films (from Horror Hotel to The Lord of the Rings), even he cannot save The Resident. Moreover, Lee is underused in a role that is pretty pointless except for the exposition that the character supplies.

One of the few positives of The Resident is the cinematography. Guillermo Navarro creates an atmospheric tone for the film with a considered visual style. Most of the film’s creepiness can be attributed to Navarro’s cinematic prowess. The score meanwhile is overused at times, attempting to force anxiety where there is none.

Hilary Swank is as competent as ever in The Resident. The actress is also an executive producer of the film, which may explain her involvement with a picture far from her usual fare. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is decent as landlord Max.

With its extended climax, The Resident ultimately feels a lot longer than ninety minutes. There is an awful long wait for scares that never materialise.