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Seraphim Falls
DVD disk
05.01.2007 By: Scott Weinberg
Seraphim Falls order
Director:
David Von Ancken

Actors:
Pierce Brosnan
Liam Neeson
Michael Wincott

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
It's a few years after the Civil War, and it looks like one guy (Liam Neeson) has a nasty old settle to score with another guy (Pierce Brosnan). It's a pretty basic plot, but the movie's practically one long chase scene!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Save for a few metaphysical divergences in Act III and just a handful of small slow spots here and there, David Von Ancken's SERAPHIM FALLS is a darn fine Western adventure that doesn't seem all that interested in plot. At least not as much as it's interested in character, tone, action, and scenery. But the minimalist style works: From the opening scenes we're already curious as to why Guy A so desperately wants to kill Guy B, and the few droplets of back-story that (slowly) manage to seep out are just enough to keep us guessing along.

It's not exactly a fast-paced, gun-blazin' sort of Western (like SILVERADO), but more of a stern-faced and sobering parable about the nature of man and his perpetual thirst for vengeance (like UNFORGIVEN, only not nearly as awesome). And if you sit down with SERAPHIM FALLS skeptical that two Irish actors can pull off a rustic "American-style" Western, fear not. Both performers deliver their typically excellent work.

As the chase travels from mountainside to stream to town and to a horrific desert, we're treated to several familiar characters from Westerns past. Von Ancken is practically making a Western about Westerns, but if you're a fan of the genre, odds are you'll appreciate what's offered here. The flick looks great, offers a few tight-fisted set-pieces, and delivers a dozen colorful character actors in predictably amusing roles. If the movie's about 10% longer than it really needs to be, it's not that big of a problem, all things considered -- although it does seem to run out of steam near the ending...

THE EXTRAS
Only two extra features, but both of 'em are strong: Fans will dig the feature-length audio commentary with writer/director David Van Ancken, production designer Michael Hanan and actor Pierce Brosnan. Hardly the most "electric" chat track ever recorded, but still full of production info and what-not. There's also a 19-minute "making of" piece that features some on-set footage and some cast/crew interviews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good Western. SERAPHIM FALLS is good, sometimes very good, but definitely short of great.
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