This Week’s Recommendation: Slow West

31 Dec 2020

Slow West


2015, 83 mins, English language

Directed by John Maclean

Slow West was 750th film screened by RFS on 15th November 2016. It was the third equal ranked film of Season 54, with an approval mark of 89%   

Jay Cavendish, a rather callow Scotsman of 16decides to travel across the 19th century American West in search of his lost love, Rose, whom he once tried, but failed, to marry. He encounters a bounty hunter, Silas Sellick (Michael Fassbender), whom he decides to take with him for protection. However, Silas has seen a wanted poster at a trading post offering a $2,000 reward for Rose and her father. Silas plots to use Jay to get to Rose and thus collect the bounty. 

This is a remarkably stylish and assured debut film from John Maclean, who wrote, edited and directed it. With perhaps more than a nod to the Coen Brothers, Maclean creates a tense, twisted and black tale of trust, fear, revenge and love. The pair encounter a series of startling characters who create a series of mini-episodes that move the story forward towards its cataclysmic – but strangely satisfying and appropriate – climax. 

“The movie starts out drenched in cynicism and nihilism, but gradually moves forward towards something else: not exactly love or good fellowship, but a feeling that the continuous paranoid suspicion needed for survival at all costs may not be worth it. It’s a love story of a very disturbing sort” (The Guardian).

Full film notes available in the Twickenham & Richmond Tribune -

Slow West can be streamed from Amazon Prime and is on BFI Player plus the discs are available from Amazon and others.

Presented by Richmond Film Society