First publised in The Playlist (February 25, 2011) by Kevin Jagernauth..☛..Following “Old Joy” and “Wendy & Lucy,” Kelly Reichardt returns with “Meek’s Cutoff,” a film that did the festival rounds last year to solid notices, and with a release date around the corner, a fresh trailer has landed. The historical tale centers on the eponymous Stephen Meek (an unrecognizable Bruce Greenwood), a hired guide who led an ill-fated contingent of wagons through a shortcut en route to the Willamette Valley in 1845. Michelle Williams, Shirley Henderson, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano and Will Patton are among the ensemble, but don’t expect a whole lot of gun-wielding, western action in the film. The film is a meditative, slow-burning drama that is more observational than driven by major plot twists and turns and the trailer does a great job of evincing the tenor of the film. Marked by strong performances across the board, this is one film we urge you to check out and as the trailer suggests, it’s shot gorgeously and is a rare opportunity to see the old school Academy ratio on a big screen.
The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst and their own lack of faith in each other’s instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as the natural enemy.
Source: The Playlist