Theaters: February 2014
Streaming: January 2015
Runtime: 115 minutes
Genre: Action – Drama – Mystery – Thriller
Amazon: 3.9/5 stars
Rotten Tomatoes Critics: NR/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience: 3.6/5
Metacritic Metascore: NA/100
Metacritic User Score: NA/10
Directed by: Andreas Prochaska
Written by: Martin Ambrosch and Andreas Prochaska, (screenplay); Thomas Willmann(book)
Music by: Matthias Weber
Cast: Sam Riley, Tobias Moretti, Paula Beer
Film Locations: Val Senales, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
Budget: $ NA
Worldwide Box Office: $ NA
Near the close of the 19th century Greider (Riley) slowly rides his horse up into a mountain valley in the Alps, a valley of steep slopes and fir trees, shadowed by two grim, coarse looking fellows with rifles strung across their backs. As he enters a small mountain village, he approaches a group of men, the towns overlords, and asks for lodging for the winter. He is told to go away. Greider offers gold, lots of it, the rulers have their price and relent, allowing him to stay at the house of an old widow and her soon-to-be married daughter. The town and the stranger have secrets, mean nasty secrets; all which slowly seep out of the frozen, village grounds into the somber, cursed lives of the anti-chosen.
The movie is based on a novel written by the German author Thomas Willmann: Das Finstere Tal. The movie is a fairly honest representation of the book except Greider in the book is a painter, in the movie he is a photographer.
Andreas Prochaska, director and writer, relatively unknown outside of Austrian-German cinematic circles, has produced a German western which, I believe he did it on purpose and is unashamed of it to boot. This is genre that I didn’t know existed but once seen comes across exactly as you would expect; a slow, thorough, mechanistic, unemotional progression through a plot until the inevitable brings a conclusion.
This is a dark and grim movie, a movie on Valium. No one is allowed to smile in this movie. No one is allowed to speak faster than a largo beat of a metronome. No one is happy in this movie and likely they don’t know the meaning of word. This is, first a drama, secondly a thriller, and finally a movie about perseverance and revenge. What this movie lacks is originality, except the part about it being a German western but that’s closer to original sin than original, and vibrancy.