imagesSo in addition to our podcast series (first episode tonight!) we’re going to try and squeeze in a bunch of small written reviews of the movies we see this year. I had a wedding to go to over the weekend which seriously hampered my availability to attend the Fantasia International Film Festival, but I did manage to get out to see Outlaws and Angels on Thursday night.

Outlaws and Angels was written and directed by JT Mollner and serves as more or less a feature length exploration of his short film “Henry John and Little Bug.” Obviously, with more time (the short ran 20 minutes and “Outlaws” runs 120) Mollner can take more time with his shots and his characters (even if none of the characters really demonstrate that much depth).

Pros: The wide-angle 35 mm shots are gorgeous and a lot of fun, doing a good job of authentically looking like a classic Western. The quick, off-center zooms are another touch that made me smile every time they were employed. The film is basically a morality play between the outlaws, the family they invade and a bounty hunter, but who the actual “good guy” might be varies wildly throughout. I remember at one point turning to Jon and whispering “well, now I have no idea who we’re supposed to be rooting for.” It’s pretty damn effective. Also, Francesca Eastwood seems to have inherited her dad’s crazy-eyes, so that’s cool to see as well.

Cons: The acting is not quite as good as it could be. It’s never so bad as to break the film, but a if a few of the performances and had been real home runs it would have pushed this movie from “good” to “great”. Also, the pacing was a little off, maybe it was as an homage to the more classic Western pacing but it seemed to pick up or drag on at weird places. The whole point of the movie seems to be building and playing with this tension growing around who is actually the “bad guy” in an isolated frontier house, and when the movie falters it can kind of knock you out of how invested you are in that tension. Might just be me though.

Would I Recommend It? Definitely to a fan of Westerns, not sure it’s quite as accessible as something like Hateful Eight but it’s interesting enough that it bears some resemblance to Tarantino’s epic.

Keith does all sorts of things here on, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek