Review: The Salvation

Photograph: Pexels
Photograph: Film Night / Pexels

Genre: Western

Directed by: Kristian Levring

Written by: Anders Thomas Jenson, Kristian Levring

Lowdown

When Jon’s wife and child are murdered, the peaceful ex-soldier starts down a path of destruction in the name of revenge.

Review

With his wonderfully restrained style of acting, Mads Mikkelson stars in The Salvation, a western that incorporates all the traditions of old-school westerns while giving the genre a wonderful boost of vitality.

Jon is an ex-soldier looking to live a quiet life with his wife and son, who have just relocated from Denmark to be with him in America, however this quickly falls apart and the story becomes one of blood, fear, and revenge.

Mikkelson, as Jon, and Nanna Øland Fabricius, as Marie, have wonderful chemistry and create a very believable couple while, though his screen time is brief, Toke Lars Bjarke is brilliant as their son Kresten and looks set to be a rising star. The rest of the cast, however small their parts, are equally as excellent with Jeffrey Dean Morgan magnificently playing villain Delarue and Eric Cantona as the stern and brutal Corsican. Eva Green puts in a fantastic performance as the mute Madelaine, with her sharp looks, rigid body language, and fiery expression.

I was impressed by the writing of the female characters, set in a time when women are not seen as equals it is easy to underwrite their roles and create soulless characters. Each character in The Salvation however is well thought out and real, the women are strong despite their social status which is shown through their actions and especially through body language and expression. I would have liked to have seen more of that, though given it is the 1870’s and a male dominated world that which could be done, has been buy cheap doxycycline hyclate done with excellence.

The direction is tight and the filming is well done with some inspired camera angles and excellent lighting. The landscape is effectively used to create a beautiful backdrop and give the look and feel of a traditional western though the tension, anticipation, and beautifully written relationships (the shopkeeper and his grandmother is especially touching) add extra layers preventing it all from becoming a tired cliche.

There are some truly beautiful moments throughout this movie, often small genuine moments such as the eye contact between characters, or the way Peter – played with quiet brilliance by Mikael Persbrandt – wraps his arms around his brother Jon to comfort him. It is these small moments that create true depth to the movie. There is an abundance of still scenes that speak volumes showing delicate direction from Levring.

I did have one issue with how the town discovered who had killed the brother of Delarue, a mystery only the cinema audience were in the know about. If this was explained within the plot it was too fleeting for me to catch, either that or my mind strayed for a few moments without my knowledge.

I enjoyed the mix of Danish and English language throughout and while the film is quite the ‘big blockbuster’ type there is not much of a ‘Hollywood’ feel to it which appeals to me. There is nothing too taxing about this film, it is an entertaining watch that is definitely worth seeing. I will be looking out for more from Kristian Levring in the future, and continuing to keep my eye on Anders Thomas Jenson who has been involved with some excellent Danish films.

The Salvation is in cinemas now.

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Christine Lawler 42 Articles
Christine has a passion for literature and has been a closeted writer since childhood. Other passions include theatre, film, and all things geeky. She lives in Glasgow with a cat named Molls and a tortoise named Haruki Kabuki.

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