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.