Slow West

6.91 h 23 min2015X-RayR
Mysterious and murderous Silas (Michael Fassbender) helps a lovelorn young man (Kodi Smit-McPhee) across the American frontier to find his lost love. Along the way, they are pursued by an outlaw (Ben Mendelsohn).
John Maclean
Kodi Smit-McPheeMichael FassbenderBen Mendelsohn
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Caren PistoriusRory McCann
Iain CanningEmile ShermanConor McCaughanRachel Gardner
R (Restricted)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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3.6 out of 5 stars

3286 global ratings

  1. 35% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 24% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 19% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 10% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 11% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

ElisabethReviewed in the United States on July 11, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Story is in the Details
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Was it the best ever? No. Will I watch it again? Certainly.

After having read the reviews, I braced myself for falling asleep in the middle of the movie, as it was late, I was tired, and I knew I wasn't going to make it through a "slow" movie. I didn't nod off once.

Its beautifully shot and acted, with a western pre-packaged plot turned on its head, a horrifically dry sense of humor, and a touch of magical realism (enough that they can get away with crazy plot holes, you just take it for granted that this world works just a little differently). Frankly, I'm convinced that those who perceive this as slow only observe dialogue and fight scenes in a movie. Yes, there are long scenes with long periods of quiet, but in order to keep this western sparse enough with words that you actually believe the narrator is the sort of fellow they claim, they do a lot of their storytelling silently. When you see the two characters riding, look at their horses: the outlaw rides his horse with it's head held relaxed, the kid's horse has his head straight up in the air, and gradually lowers it throughout the film, showing how up-tight the kid is in comparison. After one particularly disturbing gunfight, the outlaw whistles as he rides his horse, and the kid glares at him, then the camera pans around and shows the outlaw clenching his fist and rubbing it on his trousers - obviously feeling unclean. There's also some great visual puns/metaphors throughout, two in particular involving salt and horseshoes.

Watching it with an eye for these unspoken details, I became deeply invested in the story and characters, to the point that the ending (both tragic and hopeful) made for a painful emotional rollercoaster.
68 people found this helpful
HikinggirlReviewed in the United States on July 14, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Not your regular western
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I don't usually review movies, but we really enjoyed this movie and were pleasantly surprised that it was better than the 3-star rating we come to expect from 3-star movie ratings on Amazon, Netflix, etc., so I wanted to say something. puts this at a 7/10. I liked it more than that. As a huge fan of action-adventure, I can see where some people thought this might be "slow," but we were captivated by the unique, almost fabled-feel of the story and how it wound its way to the bitter-sweet end. I'm curious if this movie had the ending everyone wanted, would it have garnered more stars?

Yes, there are the traditional villains, good and bad face-offs, and the reluctant hero (Fassbender), but different from most westerns with traditional props of campfires and trading posts, this story gives us a gritty perspective into these oft glanced over props, making me feel that it is not the bad guys that are simply brutal, but it is "the west" in general.

This is not your regular western. Maclean (writer/director) gives us the hero's back-story (Smit-McPhee) in snippets, which in some cases has a surreal quality. Blending a person's past with the present is hardly a new technique in film, but the way it is done in Slow West feels fresh, unexpected and a tad bit intelligent. I hate to say the word archetypes, but the Slow West leaves an imprint that resonates as do other movies that speak to us at a deeper level and haunt us long after the film is over. I look forward to seeing what Maclean does next.
22 people found this helpful
DoomsdayJesusReviewed in the United States on January 13, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Just phenomenal, a mix of old an new
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I'm not going to sit here and pretend that this movie is for everybody, but what I saw here was a major homage to the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns. I am a Classic Western junkie, going back to the first John Wayne B movies in the 30s, I haven't seen an original film this good in ages with all the awful remakes that are all style, no substance (fun, but never eclipsing the originals).

The scenes are developed slowly, the backdrop and physical acting is allowed to speak just as much or more than the lines of the characters themselves, there is not wordy or unnecessary banter between characters. Think of how long scenes play out in the original man with no name trilogy or Once Upon A Time in the West... The movie had a very German, almost fatalistic feel to it, very uncharacteristic for American movies these days. A bit surprising that it was filmed in New Zealand, but you can't tell the difference.

Typically I'm not watching westerns with my wife but I was happy to be able to share this one with her and she thoroughly enjoyed it. This is not simply a shoot-'em-up, this is not simply an independent arthouse flick either. This is a genuinely well put together classic Western that I believe is severely underappreciated judging by the reviews here. The action isn't lacking, the acting is superb, the story is thick, I can't recommend it highly enough.
9 people found this helpful
Dale J. NauertzReviewed in the United States on July 16, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
One of the year's best (so far)
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If you're expecting endless, bloody shootouts from your Westerns, this film will disappoint. If you want something different, something with elements of whimsy that takes unexpected turns yet has enough grit and melancholy to keep it grounded, then you're in for a real treat.

"Slow West" has a lot of quirky elements and toys with one's expectations at every turn, but is more successful and focused than something like Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man", of which this film occasionally reminded me. Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit McPhee play wonderfully off of one another and give great, naturalistic performances. There are a lot of strange moments and conversations, but director John Maclean establishes a distinctive tone early on and never veers from it. Even the oddest moments of the film feel natural to the aura he's established. I enjoyed virtually every moment of this movie and am eager to revisit it, because I feel that there are layers to it that further viewings will disclose, though it also seems very simple and straightforward. It doesn't feel as though a moment of screen time is wasted here. The relationships in the film are drawn simply but elegantly. The shot compositions are absolutely gorgeous (if nothing else, one can bask in the scenery on display and have a rewarding viewing experience) and though it's quirky it's never overbearingly so, nor does it ever call undue attention to itself. It's short, deliberately-paced, breathtakingly film, simply rendered and inventive.

These may seem like modest charms, but they set "Slow West" apart from most modern films and distinguish it as a breath of fresh air. It's a true gem.
14 people found this helpful
KPReviewed in the United States on August 18, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
No Need to Pick Up The Pace
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Well done. As other commenters have stated, the pace is deliberately slow because every second is a detail. The depth and breadth of details encompass what can only be described as another movie playing concurrently in a parallel dimension - somewhat like the Shakespearian story within a story or play within a play, except that the additional layer is only visible to those who see the relevant details from the beginning. Rather than extended scenes the underlying story is captured in gestures and words that may seem superficial and disconnected if not tracked from the beginning of the movie. I was multitasking while watching until the store scene with the parents when I noticed a specific gesture from one of the lead characters that seemed oddly out of place for the scene. The gesture was followed by words which seemed relevant but somewhat overstated for the scene. So, I stopped multi-tasking, went back to the beginning of the movie, and watched keenly. Very well done. The title of the movie "Slow West" is a decoder key to the underlying story which is emphasized in the scene with the traveler in the exchange regarding east and west. Social commentary is historical and present day - “East. What news?” “Violence and suffering. And west?” “Dreams and toil.” As is the philosophical undertone. My criticism is that the subtlety is too subtle which can mislead to perceptions of the screenplay and acting being pointless, drab, and monologue-esque when the truth is actually the opposite. Definitely a good effort in reviving the authentic Western genre without excessive guts, gore, mayhem, and perversion. Unfortunately, the value won't be realized for years to come.
One person found this helpful
Jan-Dro LoyaReviewed in the United States on January 15, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Slow but well paced, keeps you watching without being boring.
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The movie was slow, but not at all poorly paced. If you're looking for a good western shootem up, kindly look elsewhere. If you're looking for a good Indie story that just happens be a western. Park your patootie and grab some popcorn. Fassbender does an excellent job with a character that doesn't change much but somehow goes through a complete evolution throughout the movie. There are just enough plot adds and twists to keep it interesting for the lack of goings on. The end was completely different from what I thought it would be, and yet still made perfect sense. I would definitely watch again. SPOILERISH ENDING COMMENT BELOW

I was very pleased with the way the movie ended. It had the classic happy ending of a good western where the bad guys die. But I really appreciated the director snapping through all the dead that had been left behind. Some deservedly left others innocents in the way. A grim reminder that the happy ending didn't come with loss and cost.
2 people found this helpful
asegalReviewed in the United States on March 16, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
I've seen and enjoyed them all
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I've been a fan of western movies since I was a young boy. Audie Murphy, Randolph Scott, John Wayne, James Stewart. Gregory Peck, Steve McQueen, etc. I've seen and enjoyed them all, over the years. My very favorite western was the Magnificent Seven, and McQueen's great line "we deal in lead" as he pulls his gun to face off against the Mexican banditos. Or how about Kurt Russell in "Tombstone", telling Ike Clanton "you tell em, I'm coming and Hell is coming with me". Sadly there is no audience for cowboy movies such as this anymore, so for fans such as me, we are happy to have independent films such as "Real West" to watch.

This movie was a pleasant surprise to me. Michael Fassbender is the most diverse A list actor in the movies today. From an Oscar nominee in the Steve Jobs biographical film to a tough as nails bounty hunter mentoring a teenage lovesick immigrant seeking his lost love on the run, in the truly wild west of the late 19th century America. The characters and the shoot out at the end in this film, reminded me a bit of Tarantino's "Hateful
Eight". If you are a fan of westerns with a good storyline well told, and terrific characters, this is about as good as it gets these post western hey days from the dream factory.
RealWoman8Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Enjoyable Western
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I watched Slow West because I love Michael Fassbender, and I wasn't disappointed in his performance or screen time. Kodi Smit-McPhee was excellent as Jake, the broken-hearted boy searching for his lost love. In fact, I wish the story had had a few more emotional layers and perhaps more interesting dialogue so that we could really become more involved in both these characters. It's not on the same high level as Little Big Man or Jeremiah Johnson. The main flaw with the movie is that it skimmed the surface, especially of Fassbender's character, Silas. I really would have liked to know more about him. But all in all, it was beautifully shot, kept my attention, and had some good action scenes (although I suspect the review of bodies at the end was meant to make us feel guilty for watching the violence? Not sure.). A solid four stars and definitely worth a watch on Prime. I just wanted to add one note, and this applies not only to Slow West but to pretty much any movie with horses it in. Horses are not sheep. They do not constantly whuffle, bleat, whinny, snort, and groan. It drives me NUTS when a "horse-noise track" is added to any film. Please, film makers, STOP already. It's the equivalent of having every human on the screen constantly muttering to themselves. Stop, just stop.
4 people found this helpful
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