Premiering at Venice Film Festival and TIFF to great reviews, Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers is set to release in Canada on October 5th. Westerns, which mostly disappeared after a period of overwhelming popularity between the 40’s and 60’s. With The Magnificent Seven remake in 2016, and The Wild Bunch remake set to release in the near future, the genre seems to be making somewhat of comeback. In anticipation of The Sisters Brothers, here are five westerns to get you in the mood:
Red River (1948)
Starring: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, and Joanne Dru
Director: Howard Hawks
Running Time: 133mins
Made in 1948, Howard Hawks’ Red River still holds up as one of the best westerns ever made. Hawks, coming off of The Big Sleep and To Have and Have Not, had never made a western before Red River. But, being the versatile filmmaker he was, he dared to try. The result earned his film 2 Oscar nominations, and starred John Wayne in one of his most memorable and legendary roles. Mixing aspects of romance, action and classic western films altogether, Red River further establishes Howard Hawks as one of the best filmmakers of all time.
High Noon (1952)
Starring: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelley, and Thomas Mitchell
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Running Time: 85mins
High Noon features two huge stars, Gary Cooper and Grace Kelley, as husband and wife in this thrilling and suspenseful Western documenting a Marshal’s sense of responsibility to his town above all else. Having just been married, Marshal Will Kane is set for retirement, but when word spreads that a band of outlaws may be making their way back into the town, his departure and retirement becomes complicated. Known as one of the best westerns of all time, High Noon represents the very best of filmmaking.
True Grit (2010)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, and Matt Damon
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Running Time: 110mins
The Coen Brothers’ True Grit, their first attempt at a full-fledged western, and also a remake of the 1969 classic starring John Wayne, is one of the best westerns of the decade thus far. Eventually being nominated for 10 Oscars, this film featured Hailee Steinfeld’s breakout role as Mattie Ross, a teenage girl that goes on a journey alongside Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) and LaBeouf (Damon) to track down her father. It’s every bit as thrilling as it sounds, and The Coen Brothers, once again, show that they can do no wrong.
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, and Richard Jenkins
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Running Time: 132mins
Bone Tomahawk is, without a doubt, one of the best directional debuts to date. Zahler, who has gone on to make Brawl in Cell Block 99 since then, is incredibly talented. Bone Tomahawk, unlike the rest of the films on the list, relies heavily on atmosphere to set its tone. Throughout most of its runtime, it doesn’t rely on thrilling action. Instead, it documents the slow and relentless journey that this group endures in order to rescue civilians captured by a tribe of “savages.” It turns out being somewhat of a gruesome horror-western, but for most of the film, the pacing is steady and slow. Zahler’s style is a welcome change in pacing from most westerns, and remains of the best films of the 2010’s so far.
The Hateful Eight (2015)
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Jennifer Jason Leigh
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Running Time: 187mins
The Hateful Eight is Tarantino’s best film to date. Yeah, that’s right. It has everything you’d expect in a Tarantino film, but done better than anything he’s every put out before. It’s a gorgeously shot film, and has tons of witty dialogue. Unlike some of Tarantino’s other films, everything in The Hateful Eight seems to have purpose – the violence, the narrative decisions, and even the 187 minute runtime. Every second of the film is incredibly entertaining, and by the end, the audience will surely feel caught off guard. Employing techniques opposite to those in Bone Tomahawk, and instead, relying on fast-paced editing and tons of action, Tarantino’s vision really comes to life here. It’s a great murder-mystery type of movie, and it really keeps the audience on their edge of their seat.
The Sisters Brothers, which stars John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoneix, Riz Ahmed and Jake Gyllenhaal is set to release in select cities starting October 5th and across Canada on October 12th. Check out our TIFF review here and stay tuned for out full review this weekend.