Director: Kristian Levring
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Eric Cantona, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce
Featuring almost all the cliches of the Western classics ‘The Salvation’ manages to satisfy a wide range of public, from diehard fans of the genre who will spot all the citations to newcomers attracted by the names involved in the production.
The story revolves around Jon, a danish soldier living in America, who, after years far from his native land, is finally able to reunite with his wife and his child. Jon is on his way to live a happy life with his family in the homestead he constructed himself in the middle of the wild west . The three, along with two other men, jump on the first coach and start their night travel to their destination, Black Creek.
Unfortunately things take a sour turn for the freshly reunited family as the two other travelers start getting touchy with Jon’s young beautiful wife and threaten the life of Jon and his son. An altercation is followed and Jon is forced, gun pointed to his wife, to jump off the vehicle. When Jon finally manages to reach it after a long run in the night he finds out that both his wife and his son have been murdered. Jon exacts revenge on the spot killing the men responsible for the massacre who are still lurking around.
The only problem is that one of the two man he just killed is Delarue’s brother. Delarue is a local brutal gangster who basically rules over Black Creek terrorizing its inhabitants and its representatives. Delarue commits a killing spree in order to find his brother’s murderer. It’s not after long that Jon and his brother are captured and imprisoned. Someone in fact saw Jon leaving from the station, the day before, on the same coach of the two dead men.
From that point on is all action, Jon is brought to the Delarue for judgement and capital punishment. Jon’s brother bravely escape the prison to rescue him and all goes mayhem. Once free Jon is basically unstoppable and his revenge won’t be easily forgotten.
The Salvation features a quite interesting work in the light department. Most of the film scenes are shot in the warm daylight (orange-ish), mitigated then by the night scenes which actually look great in their cold and bleak tone. Sometimes the post production results sort of comic book-ish but is nonetheless effective. Considering how strong and bright the light is supposed to be in the open far west this film succeeds in reaching a very good balance among all the exposures. When the action takes place in the city’s fulcrum, the costumes’ colors (I’m also talking about the red coat wore by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) interact and perfectly melt with the dusty hard yellow of the ground.
Performances are not the high note in particular if you are expecting a lot from Eva Green, her role consists in appearing torn, unforgiving, hurt and bad ass at the same time, and I won’t forget to mention that she does not have a tongue to express any of it because Indians had it cut out. But both Mads Mikkelsen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are quite strong in their roles, rough, and perfect antagonists.
There’s no much to add, The Salvation, is fun, surprisingly good and can be considered an interesting way to show that, yes, Danishes too can do Westerns, and with sense of style and vision. I think that sometimes the visuals can make up for some of the overdoing.