I can honestly say this is the best Danish Western starring a former Manchester United footballer I’ve ever seen.
The Salvation has a total run time of just under an hour and a half, and that’s all it needed. In fact, the film makers got almost every decision right, with a few exceptions. The choice to cast Eric Cantona was unfortunately one of those few decisions, but at least they only gave him about three lines. It was fine when he looked menacingly into the distance (probably at a Crystal Palace fan), but as soon as he opened his mouth things went downhill.
This film is clearly made on a budget, occasionally lacks the violence it could have, and perhaps should have had on display, and casting Eva Green in a silent role is a strange choice, even if she did do well in a role that could have easily been nothing. So there’s a reason I’ve gotten those things out-of-the-way early, which is that they’re pretty much my only criticisms.
Every frame of this film is beautiful, to the point that you could pause it at any moment and it would look like a painting. I don’t know if it was a filter used whilst filming or something done in post production, but there was a surreal, almost fantastical quality to every shot. This helped in a strange and unexpected way to add to the dramatic and gritty feel of the film, and it was quite unique as a viewing experience.
The cast was also very good. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a Third Act favourite, and proved why here as a menacing but complicated villain, as I’ve already said Eva Green did well even though it was a silent role, Jonathan Pryce made a surprisingly convincing wild west undertaker, and Mikael Persbrandt and Mads Mikkelsen were both great as former Danish soldiers. That might seem like a strange mixture of characters, but they all blend together seamlessly. My only complaint on the acting front would be that sometimes I feel as if Mads Mikkelsen could have given more. His character has some horrible experiences (I won’t spoil any of them here), and he maintains a calm and stoic demeanour throughout. This works a lot of the time, and it was probably the way he was directed, but I was left feeling as if he had a little more to give.
The Salvation is a very solid film, with only a few minor negative points. Even though the western genre isn’t hugely popular at the moment, I would recommend this film to anybody wanting a short and exciting watch.
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