IMDb > Meek's Cutoff (2010)
Meek's Cutoff
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Meek's Cutoff (2010) More at IMDbPro »

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Meek's Cutoff -- A drama centered on three pioneer families on the Oregon Trail, circa 1845.

Overview

User Rating:
6.5/10   6,825 votes »
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Director:
Writer:
Jonathan Raymond (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for Meek's Cutoff on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 April 2011 (Ireland) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Settlers traveling through the Oregon desert in 1845 find themselves stranded in harsh conditions. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
5 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A near masterpiece See more (93 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Michelle Williams ... Emily Tetherow

Bruce Greenwood ... Stephen Meek

Will Patton ... Soloman Tetherow

Zoe Kazan ... Millie Gately

Paul Dano ... Thomas Gately

Shirley Henderson ... Glory White

Neal Huff ... William White

Tommy Nelson ... Jimmy White
Rod Rondeaux ... The Indian

Directed by
Kelly Reichardt 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jonathan Raymond  screenplay (as Jon Raymond)

Produced by
Elizabeth Cuthrell .... producer
Todd Haynes .... executive producer
Neil Kopp .... producer
Phil Morrison .... executive producer
Andrew Pope .... executive producer
Laura Rosenthal .... executive producer
Mike S. Ryan .... executive producer
Vincent Savino .... co-producer
Anish Savjani .... producer
Rajen Savjani .... executive producer
Steven Tuttleman .... executive producer
David Urrutia .... producer
 
Original Music by
Jeff Grace 
 
Cinematography by
Christopher Blauvelt 
 
Film Editing by
Kelly Reichardt 
 
Casting by
Laura Rosenthal 
 
Production Design by
David Doernberg 
 
Art Direction by
Kat Uhlmansiek 
 
Costume Design by
Victoria Farrell  (as Vicki Farrell)
 
Makeup Department
Linda Andrews .... key makeup artist
David Kennedy .... key hair stylist
David Kennedy .... wig stylist
Jamespatrick Smith Jr. .... makeup artist
Leo Won .... makeup department head
 
Production Management
Brett Cranford .... unit production manager
Josh Rappaport .... post-production supervisor (as Joshua Rappaport)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Chris Carroll .... first assistant director
Kyle Eaton .... second assistant director
Rose Leiker .... additional second assistant director
Matt O'Connor .... first assistant director
 
Art Department
Michael Brophy .... storyboard artist
Victoria Farrell .... embroidery: title (as Vicki Farrell)
Marlene McCarty .... embroidery: title
Guthrie McCarty-Vachon .... illustrator: main title
Jason Ruffolo .... set dresser
Joe Rynearson .... set dresser
Kate Smith .... set dresser
Nate Smith .... assistant property master
Ryan Warren Smith .... property master (as Ryan Smith)
Arly Williams .... art intern
 
Sound Department
Felix Andrew .... sound mixer
Javier Bennassar .... supervising sound editor
Jean-Michel Beranger .... french dubbing mixer
Ryan Collins .... assistant sound editor
Lara Dale .... foley artist
Ellen Heuer .... foley artist
Tim Limer .... mix recordist
A. Josh Reinhardt .... foley mixer (as Josh Reinhardt)
Leslie Shatz .... sound designer
Leslie Shatz .... sound re-recording mixer
Dell Winter .... dialogue editor (uncredited)
Mandell Winter .... supervising sound editor (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Brad Dunten .... fire expert
 
Stunts
Brian Duffy .... utility stunts
Khristian Lupo .... utility stunts
Jason Rodriguez .... stunt coordinator
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Peter Efrem .... gaffer
Eric Hill .... still photographer
Stephen MacDougall .... first assistant camera
Simon Max Hill .... still photographer
Jason McCormick .... additional first assistant camera
Kyle Metzger .... camera swing
Eliza Plumlee .... second assistant camera
Madison Rowley .... film loader
Greg Schmitt .... camera operator: "b" camera
Greg Schmitt .... steadicam operator
Matthew Semchee .... additional key grip
Chris Strauser .... additional second assistant camera
Savannah Teller-Brown .... camera loader
Corey Walter .... still photographer
Greg Wick .... camera swing
Brian Shotzbarger .... key grip (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Maribeth Fox .... casting associate
Simon Max Hill .... casting: Oregon
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Grace Ryung Kim .... costume maker (uncredited)
Jamespatrick Smith Jr. .... wardrobe assistant (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Gordon Bell .... first assistant editor
Donnie Creighton .... digital intermediate producer
Eric Hill .... editorial technical consultant
Michael D. Most .... digital intermediate colorist (as Mike Most)
Jon Pehlke .... on-line editor
Tim Safarik .... colorist: dailies
Tomas Vengris .... first assistant editor
David Waters .... digital intermediate producer
Tricia Chiarenza .... color timer (uncredited)
Paul Amadeus Kim .... on-line editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Dave Eggar .... music producer
Dave Eggar .... musician: cello
Jeff Grace .... music producer
Stefan Karrer .... soundtrack album producer (uncredited)
 
Other crew
George Adams .... assistant production coordinator
Sotirios Bakouros .... set intern
Arpita Banker .... production accountant
Morgan Bateman .... animal trainer
Gordon Bell .... script supervisor
Mike Brantley .... set teacher
M.E. Buckner .... historical consultant
John Burnside .... translator: Nez Perce language
Barbara Carr .... representative: American Humane Association
Rives Curtright .... production assistant
Scott Davis .... animal trainer
Sarah Devere .... office production assistant
Greta Emang .... set medic
Rosario Estrella .... set intern
Roger D. Faires .... location manager (as Roger Faires)
Evan Franulovich .... production assistant
Sam Gaty .... production assistant
Nicole Hawkins .... production accountant
Mark Jarrett .... additional locations
Matt Jay .... production assistant
Michael J. Jones .... historical consultant
Paul Kohler .... additional locations
Rosen Lewis .... production legal
Marlene McCarty .... title designer: main and end titles
Kalen Mendenhall .... set intern
Kellen Molica .... production office intern
Mike Morris Jr. .... animal trainer (as Mike Morris)
Kristen Parr .... translator: Nex Perce language
David Parson .... production assistant
John Parson .... production assistant
Paul Parson .... set intern
Lance Rosen .... production legal
Erin Shelley .... animal trainer
Natasha Shumny .... post facilities coordinator
Alison R. Smith .... animal trainer (as Alison Smith)
Cody Smith .... animal trainer
Diana Smith .... animal trainer
Tanya Smith .... production coordinator
Sara Suffriti .... chef: dinner
Scott Tuning .... medical supervisor
Nicholas Van Atta .... chef assistant: dinner (as Nick Van Atta)
Zoe Bower .... post facilities manager (uncredited)
Tana David .... post facilities coordinator (uncredited)
Evan Franulovich .... craft service (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Matthew Ebert .... thanks
Larry Fessenden .... thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Meek's Oregon 1845 Cutoff" - USA (long title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated PG for some mild violent content, brief language and smoking
Runtime:
104 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Canada:G (Ontario) | Germany:6 | Ireland:PG | Netherlands:12 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | UK:PG | USA:PG (certificate #46670)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Goofs:
Anachronisms: Early in the film, three women are walking across the baked desert following the wagons, presumably to the west. The guide may be off course but nobody would mistake east for west. Yet the womens' shadows are to their left as they walk, and since the sun would always be in the southern sky in Oregon, they could only be walking east. A basic detail that a director should not miss.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Jimmy White:[reading from Genesis] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
See more »

FAQ

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73 out of 118 people found the following review useful.
A near masterpiece, 22 April 2011
Author: ecstatic-tickle from Ireland

'Who knows what's over that hill? Could be water, could be an army of heathens…blood or water' – the words of Stephen Meek, a hardened pioneer of the Western front, whose name is more than a slight contradiction of character. The year is 1845 and Meek is the guide for members of three families who have left the settlements on the thriving Eastern Seaboard of America and are now undertaking the last leg of their long journey, through Oregon desert. Although they are at the brink of their destination – the uncertainty of their route, the need for food and water, and more than anything the threat of Indigenous tribes – is deeply felt.

Kelly Reichardt has been an intriguing presence on the independent scene for several years now. While sparse and potentially esoteric, her previous films Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy felt very unique, rich in atmosphere and subtext. This one, shot in the 4:3 aspect ratio – this is clearly not about gorgeous panoramic Western vistas, but an arid environment and sense of isolation, constriction and fear that the characters can't escape. The cinematography is enveloping – every image and sound has clarity of intent and authenticity that's impressive, but not mechanical, there's a level of artistry here that's seamless.

Reichardt has done a remarkable job. The way in which we first encounter this group has an almost voyeuristic dimension. We observe them bringing their belongings across the river, cages and basket across, a woman pregnant. The classic wagon vehicle. We see the necessity they feel to wade through and continue on their journey no matter what. Reichardt's not interested in fulfilling the conventions of the genre or even screen writing at large – nothing is indicated, nothing is too obvious – and the decisions she makes in terms structure and thematic elements are felt on a subliminal level, right up until the final shot. By defying expectations of the genre and her film becomes all the more engrossing.

This is quite a simple story about people with simple customs and practical needs – driven by a need to fulfill their 'Manifest Destiny' – the inherent right they feel to colonize this new land. Setting off on the journey, Meek himself tries to enforce his high status, telling the youngsters cautionary tales of bears and brutes and emitting a seemingly affable macho persona. For the rest of the group, there is a sense of communal obligation and not too much time for soul-searching or camaraderie. Reichardt does not draw attention to anything - whether it be the name actors she has playing these very pared down roles or the multitude of themes and messages running beneath the surface.

Among the eclectic ensemble of actors in the film is Michelle Williams, Reichardt's muse previously on Wendy and Lucy – who continues to go from strength to strength in proving her versatility and conviction as an actress. Here she plays Emily Tethero – a young mother on this trek, and eventual moral compass for the audience. She's invisible in the role - in the best sense; there is no big announcement or introductory close-up of her arrival on screen as 'Two-Time Academy Award®-nominee Michelle Williams', now playing dress-up in the desert – the blatant heroine of the piece. No, Reichardt is smart and knows how to treat the audience with intelligence, she does not indicate anything. However, as the narrative unfolds, Emily's increasing speculation over their route, her concerns about water and private ideas of gender roles makes her an adversary for Meek.

These tensions come to a head however when they encounter a Native American Indian. From the moment this happens – Williams' character immediately decides to take very practical action to the threat. But soon enough this Cherokee man becomes a possession for the group, an entity they fear so intensely yet cannot let go of – they interrogate him to find out the route, to know of any more like him who may attempt to destroy. The fear of the Other is palpable and the ultimate intent of the film is revealed.

However, Emily Tethero is the one who listens to him – she hears him praying despite not understanding his words, she also repairs his shoe. She begins to become more lenient with him, despite her upbringing and societal beliefs. As the group's situation begins to become more desperate - these various gestures and allowances enrage Meek – with a turbulent dynamic beginning to form and some consequence and yet it never descends into hysterics.

If the job of the artist is to deepen the mystery - then Kelly Reichardt has succeeded. By the end of this film there are no clear answers. There is no sense of the world being set to rights by this story, the film does not presume that what it is has to say about race relations (still relevant in 2011 and beyond) is closing the book on the topic, not for the characters, nor the audience. The film is not about these people's ultimate destination because the sense of closure and satisfaction felt at the end of most movies is an illusion - an entertaining one, which we can suspend our disbelief to enjoy, but an illusion nonetheless. Here that kind of compromise is not necessary, and to witness this on screen is like a window into the past.

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Message Boards

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
I really liked the part where... joshuayeary
Like watching paint dry aland-16
A western in 1.33 : 1 aspect ratio? cinema_show
The ending--a clue. tomcervo
I have a number of questions regarding this movie [spoiler alert] mlinick
book recommendation for anyone who liked the film schumithecat
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