A prospector sells his wife and daughter to another gold miner for the rights to a gold mine. Twenty years later, the prospector is a wealthy man who owns much of the old west town named ... See full summary »
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A prospector sells his wife and daughter to another gold miner for the rights to a gold mine. Twenty years later, the prospector is a wealthy man who owns much of the old west town named Kingdom Come. But changes are brewing and his past is coming back to haunt him. A surveyor and his crew scout the town as a location for a new railroad line and a young woman suddenly appears in the town and is evidently the man's daughter. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Near the end of the film, Donald and Francis arrive back to town on horseback. Several men are walking behind them. Two men in Russian style hats are wearing modern day aviator sunglasses. See more »
[first lines - overlapping conversations]
Alright ladies, let's go. I'm Vauneen, I take care of you from this point on. Ya get down, and we're going to get you to work real soon...
Alright gents, let's hand-up your firearms.
It's a town's rule.
These firearms are the property of the Central Pacific Railroad.
That don't matter, Mr. Dillon says no firearms in town, so no firearms in town, come on...
You can't take these weapons...
I said, leave that...
Well then you can't come into Mr. ...
[...] See more »
Probably more reminiscent of Heaven's Gate than the filmmakers would like, The Claim ultimately works much more effectively than Cimino's movie, for reasons that include Michael Winterbottom's ability to reign himself in a bit. One can almost feel the director yearning to make the movie bigger and more grandiose, but that would not be to its ultimate benefit. The first half hour is interminably boring, but the film ultimately overcomes that with a fine second half. I felt Wes Bentley was good, but may have been a bit miscast. He doesn't have the edge or mystique that one might have wanted from his character as a wandering surveyor for the railroad. Sarah Polley is excellent, and strikes an uncanny resemblance to the young Sondra Locke. Fortunately, she has more going on than Ms. Locke. The centerpiece performance really belongs to Peter Mullan. While Nastassia Kinski's role as a dying woman might give her a little more to play off of, Mullan usually has to play his role with more subtle looks. He does quite well at that. Winterbottom attempts to give this Western a very spare, haunting feel, and has mixed success. As mentioned, the first half seems to be regarded with more gravity by Winterbottom than the forward motion of the story should allow. The scene in the cabin that reveals the secret that Peter Mullan holds comes much too early, and is much too short. One misses the weight and import of this scene, simply because Peter Mullan agrees to the Faustian bargain much too soon. By the end, Winterbottom and the writer have managed to fashion a rather engrossing Western with a fairly classic feel. One feels that it would have been something Eastwood might have considered twenty-five years ago. The music is a real high point, with composer Michael Nyman using the requisite inspiration of Ennio Morricone's Once Upon a Time in the West (it is subtle, but it is there), while fashioning a haunting work in his own right. Cinematography by Alwin H. Kuchleris is tragically average. While the vistas are beautiful, and the look of the film should have been amazing, the work is too inconsistent. In the end, The Claim can be considered a flawed success. It isn't perfect, but it contains enough of value to sustain it, and the mere attempt at creating a Western of great artistic magnitude is appreciated.
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