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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.
cosmo_tiger25 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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Old-Style Western as Feminist Revenge Flick
alisonc-121 July 2013
Warning: 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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Mostly absurd but ridiculously fun to watch
Arit28 January 2013
Warning: 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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cinecephale21 July 2013
Warning: 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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More bitter than sweet
kosmasp26 March 2014
January Jones plays the main lead in this and she is really great in this. Ed Harris also has a blast and the movie overall is a nice addition to the western genre. It has all the right ingredients (with added female nudity, which isn't something that is a given of course) and was obviously fun to shoot.

The movie itself which was playing at the Fantasy Filmfest in Germany when I watched it, is predictable because of the known story line (even without me saying where this is going, you'll see it coming from a thousand miles). But the fun you can have with it, is still there, especially if you have a soft spot for Western movies in general
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Way better then expected
frfrey2 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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Western Punisher
bwcook4211 October 2013
Warning: 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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good ole cowboy shoot 'em up
dkgeneralmail9 June 2013
Warning: 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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Ed Harris adds spice to a good western
sergiokapusta24 January 2013
Warning: 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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Nice departure from the "norm" Western
bunnyrabbitluv3 January 2015
Interesting script, sharp, well written dialog. Several subtle "funnies" along the way. Such a delightful departure from his "norm" and excellent performance by Ed Harris. I liked this dandy Colombo with a harmlessly psychotic twist. Amy Madigan almost stole the show with one short scene, played with so few words, very, very well. Some of the sharp dialog could have been delivered better by January Jones, Bless her heart, but a lead role like this can be exhausting, I'm sure. Hope she grows into them, though, because she was easy to watch. A cast of characters keeps things interesting, And one is always watching for twists and turns. Would have been interesting to discover her situation in the end. Seemed to end somewhat abruptly without closer in that area.
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"I apologize for digging you up"
doug_park20014 January 2014
SWEETWATER is a nicely-done noirish parody of the old spaghetti western. Plot-wise, it's rather predictable, without many big surprises, but it keeps your attention and incorporates steady humor without turning into a complete slapstick joke. Best of all are the very colorful cast of characters: Crazy charlatan cult leader; beautiful, now-married former prostitute who's out to settle down and lead a quiet, simple life; unstable yet nobly maverick sheriff; perverted clothier; and a whole bunch of sheep who contribute a great deal to the story (really, they do).

Intelligently simple entertainment--nothing to be taken too seriously. Great performances by Ed Harris (sheriff) and January Jones (former prostitute).
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An excellent cast and very good writing.
regorgniw13 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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Western that's a pointless series of killings
Chris Knipp18 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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BANG BANG I shot you down...
natashabowiepinky28 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Every good revenge thriller needs a decent villain, and Sweetwater (known as Sweet Vengeance here in good ol' England) has a great one: a thoroughly despicable, corrupt preacher who uses the cover of his profession to get away with a multitude of sins: including murder, sexual abuse, stealing... the list goes on. It's difficult to know what version of the Good Book he's studying, since I'm quite sure there are no passages advocating racism, prostitution or lying either. If he was born nowadays, he'd likely be confined to an asylum for the rest of his sorry days. But since this was the God fearing 19th century, he's seen as a pillar of the community, and is allowed to get away with his wanton criminality.

Fortunately, a new sheriff has just rode in, and doesn't fall for the alleged man of the cloth's film-flammery. You see, the preacher's men have unwittingly killed two friends of his, and he wants to find out the cause of their disappearance. Meanwhile, the insane religious nutjob has got designs on a redhead farmer AND her land... and is prepared to go to any methods to grab what he believes should be rightfully his. Including of course, disposing of her Mexican husband. Unfortunately, after destroying her life, he awakens in her a monster. Let's just say Charles Bronson is about to have some competition for the highest body count...

And as the predictable slaughter gets underway, you can hardly help but get involved as this irredeemable bible basher, along with his uncouth gang of reprobates, are annihilated by our wronged lady in ways which can only be described as thoroughly deserved. There has been so many contemptible things done by these miscreants up till now, that maximum satisfaction is guaranteed as they're blown to smithereens. January Jones is a marvel as the feisty focal point of the movie, and Ed Harris with Jason Isaacs offer invaluable support as the unshakeable lawman and the eminently hissable bad guy, respectably.

Number one with a bullet. 6/10
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Great flick
jjoaq7 February 2014
It started out real slow. From the reviews, I thought, well OK, if I don't like it, I can just stop watching. Like I said, it started out real slow. Maybe about midway, it got good, then better, then real good. It was like a thriller. The acting was superb by all. The villain made you hate him. His righteousness made you hate him even more. Great acting. Great background, the town and townspeople. All the characters were great. I won't spoil it and tell the ending but even the ending was great. I thought that it would end differently but it didn't and that even made it better. I thoroughly enjoyed this western. I haven't seen a good one in along time.
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Sweet as a hot coconut milk cup.
searchanddestroy-19 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I did not watch this movie, I tasted it. Literally. A little gem. A masterpiece. An authentic masterpiece. It reminds me the first Coen Brother's film: BLOOD SIMPLE, back in 1984. Jason Isaacs gives here a powerful performance as the bad lead, as he did in PATRIOT, against Mel Gibson. His character reminds me Gene Hackman's one in Clint Eastwood's UNFORGIVEN. Ed Harris brigs also his contribution to this exceptional good western. Very offbeat and also downbeat. All I love in a movie. A mix up of violence and humour. Dialogues that hit you in the face. A must see.

I wait for the next director's film.

This one is so gooooood !!!!!
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Wonderful performances...worthless film
mikefine-125 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I just saw the film at Sundance as well and I have to say, I am not only exceptionally disappointed in the festival but the audience as well. This almost entirely unoriginal film is only slightly saved by the over- the-top performances of Jason Isaacs and Ed Harris.


While I am warning the reader of spoilers, this film is completely predictable in every shape and form. Set in what seems to be New Mexico in the Old West, we meet the Prophet Josiah, a religious zealot who kills, rapes and abuses in the name of the Lord. He opens the film by murdering two men on his property for the theft of two lambs and trespass. We know immediately that he is a bad and vengeful man.

Over on the property next door resides young Sarah and Miguel who are deeply in love and are just trying to make ends meet by working their dirt farm. They are at odds with the dishonest banker who steals their money; the lewd store owner has a peep hole in the dressing room and the religious followers of the "Prophet."

Finally, this dull and predictable story gets a little life when a legendary yet eccentric lawman played by Ed Harris, returns to investigate the whereabouts of the two men murdered earlier in the film. He dances to music, he is bold in his assertions and takes a refreshing and strange approach to his law duties and naturally, annoys our villain to no end.

Things turn bad when Josiah decides he wants both Sarah and their property. Of course, he just murders Miguel and buries the man and goes and rapes Sarah as to indoctrinate her into his "flock." From here, the film degrades into a vengeance tale in which Sarah gets her revenge in dramatic fashion.

No person in the film is spared from her anger. Of course, there is a shootout where she receives a minor obligatory wound in her side. She rescues the lawman who fell into Josiah's clutches but he is ultimately killed allowing our "heroine" to go unpunished for her wrath. ALL who did her wrong are murdered in cold blood. In the end, we see her burning her clothes and standing naked by a fire.

This movies suffers from so many problems, it really is difficult to know where to begin. So here are some of the multitude of issues:

  • January Jones' performance is what she does best. Her lifeless, unemotional style may appeal to some. However, for me, it is ridiculous. Her husband is murdered, she miscarries a child and still, the women doesn't cry or evoke a single emotion.

  • The murderous rampage of Sarah is brutal. She kills innocent people. One guy pleads for his life explaining that he had nothing to do with her husband's death but she guns him down just the same. More important, she does it without remorse.

What disturbs me most is that many people in the Sundance showing cheered her on as she brutally murders close to a dozen people. Sure, a few might have been deserving of her wrath but a few of these murders are simply wrong.

  • The film is a cartoon complete with villains in black, good guys in white and equally ludicrous characterizations. The directors try to bring a little bit of ambiguity to the nature of Sarah by giving the wonderful Amy Madigan (playing her mother) a few minutes of screen time. However, it is just confusing and unexplained.

  • The psychotic Josiah is played to excess by the talented and charismatic Jason Isaacs. He is given full reign to make this character as evil as he wants and there is no restraint. However, here is one place a little bit of control might have given us a more interesting character. In the end, Darth Vader has more depth.

Isaacs plays "Lucius Malfoy" in the Harry Potter series and in those films we see a mostly evil man but we also get a taste of the love for his children and his torn allegiance to Voldemort. He has excellent depth and my point is, Isaacs knows how to a villain and yet be human. Clearly the directors and not Isaacs are at folly for this ridiculous portrayal.

  • There are so many continuity issues and incomplete thoughts in the film that it seems hurried and pieced together. We don't really understand our villain at all. He is just bad to be bad. We aren't told why Sarah ran away. The time line and pacing are a mess(pregnant a couple days after intercourse is certainly possible but in the old west, would she know that fast???).

  • We have no understanding of why people would hang out with Josiah who is abusive, psychotic and violent to those who appose him. Certainly, we could make assumptions. However, it might have been better for us to see some of the good of this man. What inspires the people of this town to want to be with this "Prophet?"

I could go on and on. The point is, I understand "Sundance" has to include some Hollywood films to help them draw an audience. However, this is the first time in 20 years (even before it was officially Sundance) that I walked out genuinely disappointed in the festival, the audience and the movie.
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Nothing about This Western Is Sugar-Coated
zardoz-133 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Sophomore helmer Logan Miller's frontier tale of vengeance "Sweetwater" is a solid but savage horse opera that doesn't bite off more than its low-budget can chew. Basically, this Arc Entertainment oater concerns revenge that a young wife exacts when she discovers that a malevolent minister has slain her husband in cold blood. January Jones plays Sarah Ramírez, and she is an exceptional marksman, far better than her spouse. During one scene when they are shooting at targets, Sarah out-shoots him. Before she married her husband Miguel (Eduardo Noriega of "The Last Stand"), she was a painted lady like her mother, Madame Bovary (Amy Madigan of "Streets of Fire"), who raised her to ply the same trade. Although neither Logan Miller nor his twin brother scenarist Noah Miller explain how Sarah wound up wedding Miguel, Sarah and her husband borrow money from a lowdown local banker, Hugh (Stephen Root of "Red State"), to buy land and build themselves a house. Nearby resides a hypocritical Morman, the Prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs of "Green Zone"), who has two wives, a daughter, and several ranch hands who have followed him from Utah. The Prophet raises sheep. The symbolism is rather obvious but nevertheless apt. One day, the Prophet catches two trespassers on his land who have killed one of his flock and cooked it. Levi (Logan Miller) and Jacob (Noah Miller) are brothers. Levi's wife is related to the Territorial Governor so when they disappear without a trace, the chief executive dispatches Sheriff Jackson (Ed Harris of "Appaloosa") to find them. Mind you, Harris doesn't play this western lawman with the usual stoic quality with which lawmen are usually depicted. Instead, Jackson is extremely eccentric, if not a little touched in the head. He conducts his investigation and learns that the man who killed Noah shot him with a homemade bullet that contained zinc. The crazy Jackson brings the corpses to Josiah's house and thoroughly enrages him. What Jackson eventually learns is that Josiah murdered not only Levi and Noah, but also that he killed Miquel. After he killed Miquel, Josiah raped Sarah. Life has been rather tough on Sarah. After Miquel disappears, she loses her baby before she could deliver it. Sarah sets out to punish Miquel's killer. Single-handedly, she tracks down all Josiah's men as well as his confederates and guns them down. He gives the man who runs the general merchandise store a lead suppository after she catches him in the act of masturbating while peering through a hole in the wall of his customer's dressing room. Earlier, the storekeeper admired Sarah's form until she poked him in the eye with an umbrella. When Sarah rides out for revenge, she has dressed herself up as a prostitute again.

Inspite of its low budget, "Sweetwater" is a handsome looking western with substantial production values. The characters are memorable and vivid, particularly Harris' looney sheriff and Isaacs' crazy prophet. "Avengers" lenser Brad Shield has photographed this entertaining but offbeat distaff western so you can feel the dust, sweat, and violence. Logan doesn't let any grass grow under his feet. Clocking in at 95 minutes, "Sweetwater" qualifies as an above-average sagebrusher. If you love to watch women toting guns and shooting at men, "Sweetwater" is ideal fare for you.
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Willard "Willie" Edge
wjedge6229 April 2014
This one of the few and best westerns sense the unforgiven with Eastwood. no green screen just pure beautiful landscape and the characters were right on on their characters. costumes, languages, everything great. the movie has good action and it keeps ya guess'n what's going to happen next. would love to be included in one of their upcoming movies, preferably a western, and that experience would take care of my head real well. i need it too. g friend of Paul, Ed's brother, i got to see this movie and i host watch party's and still cant get enough. yeah a western buff i am. i also notice a lot when it comes to props. this movie was in tune with the times along as their costumes. the directing i'm sure was just as fun for everyone enjoying there work. everyone i had over to watch "SWEETWATER" was ready to go buy a copy of this movie, unfortunately the movie store only had a few copy's for sale but is ordering more. everyone agrees, this is one bad-ass movie that should get a lot of attention. it's got my 10 thumbs up... Logan and Noah; was great talking to ya. Hope to see you guys sometime and do something. Willie.............
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a very controversial and mixed feeling
rightwingisevil11 June 2013
when you watched this film. there were many gibberish mambo-jumbo religious crappy monologue or crazy enough talk-to-himself murmurings. and the directing was also quite weird as the film itself. there was an usual cunning vicious and violent religious bully who thought all the vast land was his lord and his own property. he committed murder after murder under the name and excuse of the lord and at the same time whenever he reached the climax when he screwed his female followers, he also praised the lord for his ultimate pleasure(guess why all the men and women would cry out in unison 'oh, my god, oh my god' is indeed a Christian mantra during intercourse or love-making?)

this is a very weird movie, an out-of-the-box very unconventional western, at times funny and ruthless, sometimes clueless and ridiculous. but what made this film above the cheap low budget western genre B movies was 1) most of the actors did great jobs and performed so well that didn't give you a cheap feeling of the average tasteless low budget and disgusting modern day western B movies; 2) the great cinematography of the camera, the wide angle wildness of the landscape, the beautiful light setting control. just by watching the glamorous camera works would worth the money and earned at least 8 stars; 3) although the screenplay was a bit over the top ridiculous, but still quite watchable, good enough to anchor your fat buttocks firmly on the seat to the end. again, a weird mindless clueless absurdity sometimes is not a bad idea.
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Killings are easier to write than a story
der-808-5885743 October 2013
Cinematography was great, and the acting was excellent, but it is so difficult to write an interesting and original screenplay. It is much easier to have a simple plot of evil and good, where first the evil kill the good, and then the revenge of the good killing the evil. I lost track of the body count (maybe 14 murders) but after the first 3 or 4 it just got to be mind numbing.

"True Grit" had a similar feel, and also lots of tension, (as well as a bunch of dead bodies) but that was a much more nuanced and interesting story.

I would avoid this movie.
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70s revenge film transposed into a Western
krachtm2 April 2014
The plot: A psychotic preacher goes too far when he begins indiscriminately murdering innocent people. A manic sheriff and gun-toting ex-prostitute team up to stop him and his followers.

I liked this film, but it's really quite shallow. If you can enjoy a minimalist, high-concept revenge thriller, this is actually pretty enjoyable. Just don't look for anything more than violent action scenes, despicable villains, and violent anti-heroes who would make Clint Eastwood proud.

As I expected, Ed Harris is the highlight of this film. His crazy sheriff is unpredictable, darkly humorous, and fun. The little bits of back story that we were fed make him intriguing, but it's a bit unfortunate that they never capitalized on any of it. I thought that maybe there'd be plot twists and complicated alliances, like a Sergio Leone film, but I guess this isn't that kind of film. No, it's basically a beat-em-up video game where the hero kills all the villain's henchmen and then does a boss fight.

There are quite a few postmodern touches to the film that may annoy old-school Western fans. For one thing, this a modern revenge thriller that's been transposed into a Western setting. As such, I don't think this was really meant to appeal to fans of classic Westerns. Instead, it's going for the Quentin Tarantino crowd, though it could have used more style and quotable dialog. For a poor man's QT film, this is not bad, but I'd recommend the real thing instead.
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Enjoyable western
deloudelouvain27 February 2015
This movie might not be like the usual old school westerns but I surely enjoyed it. As an atheist I already hated the priest/prophet Josiah from the first minute I saw him. And him being a racist as well he was the perfect character to hate. Jason Isaacs puts down a good performance playing the villain prophet. Ed Harris as the lunatic sheriff Jackson is also great in his role. And so is January Jones as Sarah Ramírez, the former prostitute that goes on a killing spree as revenge. I thought the whole cast did a good job. The story was well written, started slowly but build up to a climax. Certainly one of the better westerns I have seen lately.
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Pointless but watchable
utgard1415 March 2014
Long-haired religious nut (Jason Isaacs) kills the husband of former prostitute-turned-farmer (January Jones). Violent revenge western dressed up with quirky types and some fairly weak attempts at profundity. Cast is solid with Ed Harris in particular having a good time with his role. However, it's one of those movies where everybody acts like characters instead of people. A little bit of that goes a long way. January Jones has a topless scene so boob lovers can check her off their list. It's all pretty by-the-numbers and there are no real surprises. Harris is the best part. I can't really recommend it but if you are forced to watch it, it won't make your eyes burn.
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I Really Wanted To Like Sweetwater...
b5erik13 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
...but I didn't.

(Spoilers are VERY minor, but noted here for your reference.)

Sweetwater just misses the mark, which was part of my frustration with the movie. There are several good scenes, and at times I really enjoyed the movie. The problem is the rest of the time I was either bored or really frustrated with how poorly the script was written and how poor the acting was.

The main problem with the movie is the villain. A psychotic, cult leader type who has a flock of followers who seem to ignore the fact that he's a psychotic killer (or are, inexplicably, just fine with their religious leader being a nutjob who kills people as a result of temper tantrums). Jason Isaacs takes the role as written and runs with it. He clearly takes devilish delight in playing an evil religious leader, but he plays him in such and over the top manner that it's hard to take the actor or the character seriously (or the script, for that matter). When your villain is one dimensional and evil just for evil's sake it really puts a strain on the writer to make the story work. In this case, Logan and Noah Miller fail to do anything with the character of Josiah other than show him to be sadistically mean, nasty, and psychotic. This really hurts the movie, but it was so unnecessary. Giving the character of Josiah some redeeming qualities and a genuine feeling of righteousness (instead a feeling of, "God, and everyone else, owes me everything") would have gone a long way towards making the movie much more interesting in between the action scenes.

Another thing that really hurts the movie is the crass use of language. Profanity in movies is hardly anything new, and often fits the movie and can make it more realistic. But here it is just over the top, crass and vulgar, and mostly anachronistic. It doesn't fit. And there are a few crass scenes as well that could have been executed better with a little more restraint.

The character of Sheriff Jackson, played by Ed Harris, is interesting, but never fully developed. There's something there, but Miller and Miller seem to be more interested in making him a quirky, oddball smartmouth than making him a great character. Harris gives a decent performance (is he ever bad?), but the character never quite becomes three dimensional.

On the other hand...

Sarah is a fantastic character. Wronged in multiple ways, she finally snaps and becomes a true force of nature. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, except for a woman horribly wronged in several different ways. Her quest for both revenge and a little justice (just a little) is fun. This is the part of the movie that works, and works well. It's just a shame that it takes so long to get there. Her willingness to do what it takes to get revenge (including wading topless in a river to attract her targets) just makes her more appealing - it's hard not to root for a character when they fully commit to doing what has to be done! She is merciless and unfeeling - no sympathy, no empathy, just a woman on a mission that has to be completed.

Had the first 2/3 of the movie been as good as the last 1/3 Sweetwater would be a very good Western. As it is, however, it's a missed opportunity to create something that transcends it's era. Oh, well.
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