GOLD, GOLD, GOLD! When a former slave named Cicero (Isaiah Mustafa) arrives at the same time a local prospector strikes gold and is murdered, the community of Yellowstone City, Montana, is quick to pass judgement. The town’s Sheriff (Gabriel Byrne) quickly arrests the newcomer, and we quickly learn that nothing is as it seems in the sleepy western town. More murders, more secrets, and reasons to kill thy neighbour arise as we navigate the plot.
With a slow, drawn-out plot, this movie had so much potential and, unfortunately, missed the mark in pacing and runtime. The filmmakers failed to utilise the character development in such a way that made me have any emotional connection to them. When the mysterious stranger rode into town, I was excited to see, learn and understand more – except I wasn’t given what I was looking for.
Regarding visual and general looks, set designs sadly look weak as if they had been built last week, with nothing that looks evident that the community had ever been through the highs and lows of a gold rush. Costuming is also questionable as I found myself looking at the plastic clips on the character’s hair, wondering if I looked closely enough, I would find a “made in….” Sticker is still attached. Special effects were pretty good – blood and gore were effective, especially during the film’s final shootout, which consists of chasing around and shooting with gunfire.
Overall, this modern western film lacks soul and feels extremely slow and dull. It’s a film that felt more like a New York City murder mystery stuck in a Western container than a being a true western. I wanted to like this movie; I really did! There just wasn’t enough here for me to warrant much praise with so many missed opportunities, such as weak set designs and questionable work with costuming. Even if you’re a fan of western, it’s a long-drawn-out ride with a few pleasing visuals to provide small amounts of on-screen entertainment.