Tuesday 29 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · Meek’s Cutoff

Meek’s Cutoff

A movie about deadly tedium that is nearly a work of deadly tedium itself

Phil Bacharach May 25th, 2011

Lest anyone thinks otherwise, wandering the Oregon Trail in 1845 was no walk in the park.

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In “Meek’s Cutoff,” director Kelly Reichardt painstakingly reveals the hardscrabble existence of a few pioneers — lost and bereft of water — as they spiral from desperation to panic. It’s a compelling narrative with flashes of enigmatic majesty, but those moments are snuffed out by an unrelentingly glacial pace.

Screening Thursday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, “Meek’s Cutoff” spins from the real-life tale of three couples who hired grizzled scout Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood, “Dinner for Schmucks”) to lead them to what will be a new settlement. Only one problem: Meek is an obnoxious blowhard who claims to know the land better than he does, and the party is hopelessly lost.

They are running out of water, food and patience. Fears worsen when the would-be settlers capture a lone American Indian (stuntman Rod Rondeaux). Can he lead them to water or, as Meek insists, is their prisoner setting them up for an ambush?

Reichardt proved in 2008’s quietly mesmerizing “Wendy and Lucy” that she’s not afraid to make an audience work. And there are impressive elements here, from a solid cast led by “Wendy and Lucy” alum Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”) to a rarely used 4:3 aspect ratio that gives the wide-open prairies a claustrophobic feel.

But “Meek’s Cutoff” is slow to the point of catatonic. Making a movie about deadly tedium that isn’t itself a work of deadly tedium is no small challenge, and Reichardt doesn’t quite succeed.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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