Tagged: Rod Rondeaux

Meek's Cutoff

Summary: The year is 1845 and a wagon team of three families is setting off across the sparse terrain of the Oregon desert, in northwest USA. They are guided by mountain man Stephen Meek, who claims to know a short cut, but when they become lost in the dry rock and sage, their faith in their guide, and in each other, weakens. After days of wandering, suffering the hardships of the inhospitable landscape and unable to find water, a Native American wanderer crosses their path. The pioneers are torn between trusting their guide or a man who has always been seen as the enemy.

Year: 2010

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th June, 2011

Australian DVD Release Date: 5th October, 2011

Country: USA

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Screenwriter: Jonathan Raymond

Cast: Paul Dano (Thomas Gately), Bruce Greenwood (Stephen Meek), Shirley Henderson (Glory White), Neal Huff (William White), Zoe Kazan (Millie Gately), Tommy Nelson (Jimmy White), Will Patton (Soloman Tetherow), Rod Rondeaux (The Indian), Michelle Williams (Emily Tetherow)

Runtime: 104 mins

Classification:PG

OUR REVIEWS/RATINGS OF ‘MEEK’S CUTOFF’:

David Griffiths: Stars(4)

Kelly Reichardt seems to have done something over the years that has upset those responsible for making sure she wins an Oscar because while it was disappointing that Wendy & Lucy didn’t get nominated it is an absolute crime that Meek’s Cutoff wasn’t. While this isn’t a film for the popcorn set it is a film that will be lapped up by real film lovers. It is a film that will actually make you think… now you can’t say that about much modern cinema, can you?

Meek’s Cutoff follows a group of settlers as they make their way across the harsh Oregon landscape in 1845. The group which is made up of Soloman Tetherow (Will Patton), his wife, Emily (Michelle Williams) as well as the Gately Family and the White Family is being led by Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) who is supposed to be a great tracker, but seems to have got the group lost. As the continue to wander aimlessly through the un-inhabitated land the realisation that they could die of starvation or thirst becomes reality, while Meek continues to warn them that the only thing they have to fear is the savage Indian tribes that are ‘watching them’. The racist Meek then takes an Indian (Rod Rondeaux) captive which divides the group.

Those familiar with Reichardt’s style will know that she likes to use minimal dialogue in her films. She once again uses this in Meek’s Cutoff and it enhances the film a million times over. It truly gives the audience a real feel of the loneliness that the characters are going through, and while some audience members will be annoyed by her ‘slow-moving’ style scenes such as the opening scene can really only be described as pieces of cinematic brilliance that true film lovers will fall in love with instantly. It is work like this that show just how good of a director Kelly Reichardt really is.

Meek’s Cutoff is penned by Jonathan Raymond (the same screenwriter who wrote Reichardt’s brilliant Wendy And Lucy) and this is one combination that seems to be a marriage in heaven. Raymond’s fine script only enhances Reichardt’s film-making style even more and if it is true that Raymond used the politics of George Bush vs. Barack Obama as a basis for the storyline of this script then he really is a screenwriting genius… and if he didn’t well he should just shut-up and let people think that he did.

This film also once again reminds the world just good Michelle Williams is as an actress. Once again she puts in a faultless performance and it seems that since her Dawson’s Creek days she has continued to grow as an actress and never once put in a bad performance. Those critical of her acting should see her ‘stand-offs’ with Bruce Greenwood in Meek’s Cutoff because they are truly sensational.

Meek’s Cutoff shows that are still some creative films that can surface from the U.S. and only proves the fact that Kelly Reichardt is one of the most important filmmakers of our generation.

Greg King: Stars(2.5)

Please check Greg’s review of ‘Meek’s Cutoff’ that is available on www.filmreviews.net.au

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Meek’s Cutoff′: This review of ‘Meek’s Cutoff’ by David Griffiths originally appeared in Buzz Magazine.

If you’re a fan of director, Kelly Reichardt (Wendy & Lucy, Old Joy) then you are sure to love her new offering Meek’s Cutoff. But like her past work it is hard to see Meek’s Cutoff being lapped up by the popcorn set, instead this is a movie for the film-connoisseur, and one that will be well-loved by those who consider themselves at Reichardt fan.

Meek’s Cutoff is set in Oregon in 1845 as a group of settlers make their away across the country in order to stake a ‘claim’. The group which is made up of Soloman Tetherow (Will Patton – Knucklehead, Waking Madison), his wife, Emily (Michelle Williams – Shutter Island, Blue Valentine) as well as the Gately Family and the White Family is being led by Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood – Super 8, TV’S Young Justice) who is supposed to be a great tracker, but seems to have got the group lost. The racist Meek then takes an Indian (Rod Rondeaux – TV’S Comanche Moon & Into The West) captive which divides the group.

Reichardt once again uses her familiar style of ‘very little dialogue but brilliant cinematography’ to get the very important message held in Meek’s Cutoff across to her audience, and this is one film that is really enhanced by her ‘slow-moving’ style. The opening scenes of a wagon crossing a river a brilliant, and only goes to show just how good Reichardt is as a director.

Reichardt’s skills are only enhanced by a terrific script by Jonathan Raymond (Wendy & Lucy, TV’S Mildred Pierce). If the rumours that Raymond uses a metaphor of George Bush vs. Barack Obama are true then he is a screenwriting genius… if they aren’t true then he can simply rest on the laurels of the fact that he has created an amazing film that once again gives actress, Michelle Williams a chance to show off her brilliant skills. Any of the scenes that she does here with Bruce Greenwood are truly sensational.

Meek’s Cutoff shows that are still some creative films that can surface from the U.S. and only proves the fact that Kelly Reichardt is one of the most important filmmakers of our generation.

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

IMDB Rating: Meek's Cutoff (2010) on IMDb

Trailer: