In 1870s America, the fury of a notorious gang leader is unleashed when a peaceful American settler avenges the death of his family. Then as his cowardly fellow townspeople betray him, he is forced to hunt down the outlaws alone.
The American West in the 1870s. A European settler, Jon Jensen (Mads Mikkelsen), has just welcomed his wife and son to the country when they are kidnapped and murdered. He takes revenge on the murderers, only to discover that one was the brother of a local land baron, Henry Delarue. Delarue runs the local town with a brutal hand. Now he wants vengeance on the man who killed his brother and the local townspeople are too scared of him to stand up to him. Jon is fighting more than just the local thugs, he is facing the entire town.Written by
On the one hand, 'The Salvation' is a classic western. Good citizens versus evil villains. A steam train. A stage coach. Horses. Lots of shootouts. Barren desert landscapes. A dusty frontier town. Name a western cliché, and it's there. Except Indians. They're only talked about in this film.
On the other hand, this is also a western with original, non-classic elements in it. Lots of languages. Parts are spoken in Danish, but you can also hear Spanish and Italian from time to time. Plus: a very strong female character, who radiates power although she is mute. Thirdly: the South-African locations. They're not very prominent, because they look very much like the American West. But when you know it, you can't help but think about it.
The film tells the story of a Danish immigrant, who kills two men who raped and murdered his wife. One of them is the brother of a local outlaw, who terrorizes the town until the culprit is found. But the Dane, an ex-soldier, is not easy to capture and confronts the outlaw.
Overall, this film seems to be very much inspired by the Sergio Leone westerns. The visual style is superb, and director Levring uses every trick in the book. Aereal shots, slow motion, close-ups: it's all there. I was amazed by the colours in some scenes - it looked as if they were heavily digitally enhanced. The result is astonishing. And just when you think you've seen it all, Levring surprises with a beautiful and, in a way, revealing end shot.
Sergio Leone created the spaghetti-western. Maybe the time has come now for the smørrebrød-western.
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