Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Homesman

The Homesman is Jones's theatrically released followup to Three Burials, and it follows a somewhat similar formula, though now a "legitimate" western. In that it follows two people as they go upon a journey to deliver something, this time three mad women, in which one imagine they'll have some sort of personal discovery along the way. It also features similar vignettes where we come across some strange western sorts as well. The film is major step down from that film. Jones still has eye for the west, and is well suited as an actor for the genre, but that's all that carries over from his first film. The film seems wholly unaware of what tone it should be and when it shifts to heavy drama or comedy it is excessively jarring. It doesn't help that the film takes so long to reveal the roots of the women's madness even if they are basically props once the journey begins. One would imagine it could at least get by on its main characters. It does not. We are given the seemingly tough old maid played by Hillary Swank whose personal journey that ends with a twist I'll admit I did not see coming. A parallel to the mad women at the end apparently, but her arc seems oddly stilted. We get Jones whose entertaining as the gruff Homesman, also the only vignettes worth mentioning are a couple of sleazy turns by James Spader and Tim Blake Nelson. It is not enough to make this film compelling. It is a mess that thematically could be summed up "the west sure was cuhraaazy".

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