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Sweetwater
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Reviews & Ratings for
Sweetwater More at IMDbPro »

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32 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Mostly absurd but ridiculously fun to watch

8/10
Author: Arit
28 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are ways for women to overcome their physical inferiority to men. The heroine of this film, played by January Jones, somehow learns it, and carries out her plans with a vengeance. The film later becomes an absurd but fun ride like "Red Eye" with its female lead replaced by another pretty blond, and set in the spectacular backdrop of the wild, wild New Mexico.

Jones is clearly not gunning for major awards here, and striking deep emotions is apparently not a requirement for her part. She needs to look sassy and resolute in her cute costume, and she sufficiently delivers within that realm.

Ed Harris is fantastic as a lunatic sheriff. The performances by the rest of the supporting cast are also sound, especially by Jason Isaacs.

Country music heartthrob Jason Aldean is naturally menacing as the bad guy's right hand man. He has a reasonable shot at a moonlighting career in movies of this genre outside his day job as a singer.

"Sweetwater" will surely rub old school Western fans the wrong way, but if you are open-minded about crossing formats, you just might find this popcorn Western a perfect pastime.

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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Started off slow but really picked up & by the end you're glad you watched it. One of the better westerns in the last few years.

6/10
Author: Tony Heck (cosmo_tiger@hotmail.com) from United States
25 November 2013

"The Lord does not believe in actions without consequences." The New Mexico territory in the late 1800's is full of danger. When Sarah, a young wife (Jones) encounters the local preacher (Isaacs) and a sheriff (Harris) who isn't totally sane. When she refuses the preacher's advances her life is forever changed. Now with the help of the sheriff she sets out for revenge, and you know what they say about a woman scorned. I am a huge Ed Harris fan and I like westerns but lately the genre has been in a huge nose dive so I wasn't sure what to expect from this. This is easily one of the better ones that have come out lately but it is still a little slow moving. 90% of the reason this is good is the cast. Harris is good in everything, Isaacs is the most disturbing preacher since Michael Parks played one in Red State. The gem of the movie though is January Jones. For once she isn't just the eye candy of the movie, she actually has a needed part and the fact that it is her that loses it and goes on a killing spree makes it that much more interesting. If you are a western fan this is one to watch. Don't expect something like Open Range though, this is more like Appaloosa or 3:10 To Yuma or for you real movie fiends out there, if you liked Seraphim Falls you will like this. Overall, started off slow but really picked up and by the end you are glad you watched it. One of the better westerns in the last few years. I give it a B.

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19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Old-Style Western as Feminist Revenge Flick

9/10
Author: Alison from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
21 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 1880s New Mexico, self-declared prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs) is building a church on "God's land." Unfortunately, "God's land" is also inhabited by a farming couple, Miguel (Eduardo Noriega) and Sarah (January Jones), whose attempts to grow crops keep being stymied by Josiah's free-roaming flock of sheep. At the same time, two brothers who happen to be related to the Governor have gone missing, and it seems to lawman Sheriff Jackson (Ed Harris) that they must have disappeared right in the middle of Josiah's spread. The meeting and interactions between these characters will bring out their respective histories, misdemeanors and other crimes, and it's anyone's guess who might live to tell the tale.... Although I don't generally like Westerns, I was very impressed at FantAsia 2011 by "Blackthorn," in which Sam Shepard plays an aging Butch Cassidy (and Eduardo Noriega has a feature role, as in "Sweetwater"); I thought for sure Shepard would get lots of acting awards once the film played in wide release, but I don't think it ever got a wide release. Fearful of missing another great Western by assuming it would be in regular theatres any day, I made sure to catch "Sweetwater" this year and I'm glad I did! Ed Harris is amazing as the very eccentric, borderline crazy sheriff and Jason Isaacs is incredibly chilling as the definitely way-over-the-border psychotic preacher. But January Jones was just electric here; sure she looks gorgeous and makes most of the male characters drool, but she's thoroughly independent and absolutely fearless when she decides to take matters into her own hands. The landscape is breath-taking (and will make you thirsty just looking at it) and the story-telling is marvelous. I hope this has a better fate than "Blackthorn," because it deserves to be seen even by those, like me, who don't tend to like Westerns.

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29 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Ed Harris adds spice to a good western

8/10
Author: sergiokapusta from United States
24 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just finished watching Sweetwater at the Sundance. Great audience reception! I think we were ready for a renewal of the western, an action packed morality play in an otherwise overly-intellectual festival. January Jones plays Sara, the prostitute turned good housewife. After his husband is killed by maniac prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs, in role tailor made for his cold features) she goes on a cleaning spree a-la-Dirty Harry. And does she clean up shop! All the bad guys get what they had coming, and in the wild west the only penalty for misbehaving is lead. She does a very credible job as an avenging angel with a cute face and a purple umbrella.

A highly entertaining film, with few good guys but a satisfying morality tale. Ed Harris is a treat as an anachronic elder flower child of the 1970's. I wished to see Sara and Sheriff Jackson ride into the sunset, and meet again in a later film.

Overall a highly recommended movie.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Interesting

8/10
Author: cinecephale
21 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As far as contemporary western goes, this one is very good. The obvious influence of There will be Blood and Terrence Malick can be annoying, especially in the opening sequences. But then the film find is own identity in a very dark, even macabre, humor and a very nihilistic view of human nature. It give some real piece of anthology, as when the pastor wake up to find the sheriff sitting at his kitchen table with two dead bodies he just digged out; or when Sarah shot a voyeuristic shop owner up the ass. The plot, as the title points out, is one of revenge, but it is not that important. Obviously, the director is more interested in characters and actors then storytelling. All the actors are fantastic, and are allowed to give creative, over the top performances. The result is both fun and unsettling to watch, even if it is sometime frustrating.

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17 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

good ole cowboy shoot 'em up

8/10
Author: dkgeneralmail from Uruguay
9 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First, this has been released under the title "Sweet Vengeance"....classic western genera..if you liked Open Range, (Kostner, Duval, et al) you'll like this. January Jones plays the "lifeless" whore trying to make a life on the hard scrabble of New Mexico. There is not much left that is going to get an emotional rise out of her, except her lover, there she is alive. She has probably seen it all and now has found someone to love and try and make a life with. Ed Harris, lawman, tracking down two lost brothers is almost a perfect 10, the rest of the supporting cast is excellent. It is well worth the watch.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Way better then expected

8/10
Author: frfrey from United States
2 December 2013

Ed Harris is having a great time and the viewer shares that enjoyment in this fantastic western. For those who long for a return of "Deadwood" this film should ease your withdrawals for a short time. The cast is uniformly excellent, the cinematography is wonderful and the writing is great. The only shortcoming, for those who like their westerns with a dose of spaghetti, is the soundtrack music. Bloody, violent and lots of fun. Ed Harris deserves much praise. The bleakness of the landscape is quite realistic. You can almost taste the dust and dirt in the air. Much of the secondary cast is also made up of very talented actors. A must watch for fans of true westerns.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Western Punisher

8/10
Author: bwcook42 from Oklahoma
11 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoiler contained in review. Enjoyed movie. The performances were excellent.

A checklist for a proper revenge movie. And the last part of the movie, when you're thinking "no, don't turn your back", she finalizes the movie with a "that's what I would do!" moment.

Could watch it again now.

I too was at Sundance, but have a different take on the audience than that of mikefine-1, they enjoyed it. The audience in general was filled with motivated movie goers, and they cheered and agreed with the extermination of the mindless followers of evil, the pervert, the corrupt lawman, and the greedy banker.

Not going to win an academy award, worth the time to watch.

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24 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Western that's a pointless series of killings

5/10
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California
18 October 2013

This dull yet extremely violent mythological western takes us to a middle-of-nowhere version of 1880s New Mexico: space and locale aren't very clearly established. Out in the desert, a pompous cleric-- who more than that is power-hungry and totally mad and evil -- whose local followers call him "Prophet Josiah" (busy and versatile English actor Jason Isaacs) comes upon two young men camping on what he says is his (and therefore God's) land. They are roasting a sheep, which he also says is his. Though they say they're connected to the governor of the state, he stabs one to death and shoots the other as he attempts to flee. This is how things go in this movie, interlaced with scenes of forced sex and verbal provocation. Like all the killings that are to follow, these are shocking, but leave us unmoved. This film is stylish, but pointless.

Later a similar fate befalls a Mexican-born farmer, Miguel Ramírez (Eduardo Noriega) whom Josiah, a thoroughgoing racist, also does not like, and therefore kills. Miguel's reformed prostitute wife Sarah (January Jones) comes looking for her husband, and eventually will realize Josiah's guilt but will kill not only eventually him, but a venial voyeur shopkeeper and various minions of Josiah. All this has been complicated early on by the arrival of the provocative, canny, also rather mad Sheriff Jackson (Ed Harris with long white locks and a long pale blue coat with plaid clown paints). In the end, there is a series of killings by Sarah mostly, with a traditional shootout, but not much suspense. Might it be that New Zealander Andrew McKenzie, whose story is the starting point, was under the sway of Cormac McCarthy's novels? The adapted screenplay is by the Marin County, California twins, Logan and Noah Miller, who worked with Ed Harris before on their debut film Touching Home, but Logan is listed as the sole director this time around.

Ed Harris has fun with his role, enjoying Prophet Josiah's good food and then stabbing his nice mahogany dining room table with his own big murderous knife to illustrate his suspicion that Josiah has killed the two young men; and every so often doing a sprightly dance that is quite nutty and belies the age suggested by his grizzled beard and silvery locks. January Jones, Don Draper's prim, then adulterous, wife in the Sixties advertising TV series Mad Men, brings a certain cool dignity to her role, but she seems too pure to have been a whore, and her wrath hath not enough fury in it.

In France where this was presented under the title Shériff Jackson, the theatrical release was "Forbidden to under 12 years." Figaroscope, whose critic liked it a lot (it got an overall Allociné press rating of 3.0), said it "refers as much to Tarantino as to Peckinpah." Actually despite some mildly ornate dialogue this lacks any of the verbal excitement or wit of Tarantino, the terror and suspense of Peckinpah, or the apocalyptic grandeur of Cormac McCarthy. Furthermore the individual scenes don't seem to link together very well and hence not much narrative drive develops. The abrupt ending makes little sense, and leaves one unsatisfied. Some moments are exploitative or vulgar. Prophet Josiah uses women sexually right and left; some scenes suggest the filmmakers are thinking of There Will Be Blood. In fact there are many influences, none integrated fully.

Sweetwater, 95 mins., debuted at Sundance Jan. 2013 and in the summer was released on DVD in the UK and Japan. Theatrical release in the US and France 9 Oct. and the US 11 Oct. It has done less well with US than French critics: Metacritic rating: 38. Todd McCarthy's assessment (no relation to Cormac) for Hollywood Reporter: "The Old West is portrayed as a venal loony bin in Sweetwater, a handsomely designed, occasionally funny but ultimately empty female vengeance yarn." Bill Graham's lead on twitch also rings true: "Sweetwater isn't easy to enjoy. For such a spare and tight film, there seems to be a lot of dead air. " He attributes that to a failure to integrate separate narrative lines. Screened for this review at UGC Odéon, Paris.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

An excellent cast and very good writing.

8/10
Author: regorgniw from United States
13 January 2014

This western is good because it has simple details of everyday menial experiences brought into magnified observation like the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarentino incorporate into their films that people personally identify with. Very good writing and directing. The character behavior is realistic for the period with a unique cast of established actors that have a track record of rolls in unusual movies similar to No Country for Old Men. January Jones, Ed Harris, and Mr. Root, the judge, from Justified, add the quirky features you will find worth your time. This is a no-nonsense simple story of detective work with refreshing deviance from stupid Hollywood fare.

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