Slow West

Critics Consensus

Slow West serves as an impressive calling card for first-time writer-director John M. Maclean -- and offers an inventive treat for fans of the Western.



Total Count: 131


Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,594
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Movie Info

At the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas (Michael Fassbender), a mysterious traveler, and hotly pursued by an outlaw along the way.(C) A24 Films


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Critic Reviews for Slow West

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (120) | Rotten (11)

  • Slow West crescendos into a bravura shootout between all the involved parties, and it's as gorgeous, nihilistic, and brutally sad as the rest of the film.

    Oct 14, 2015 | Full Review…
  • It's a work of rare purity, directness and concision - a pity that it's lumbered with that slightly deceptive, off-putting title. Slow it's not.

    Jun 26, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The western may be about as relevant to American society as the ability to lasso a rampaging steer, but the genre refuses to die. Instead it evolves, taking on new meanings with each new incarnation.

    Jun 25, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • That magical combo: a debut feature that knows exactly where it's going and leaves you wanting more.

    Jun 25, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's only slow in the way a rattlesnake or a predatory killer is slow. This terrific film is actually tense, twisty and brilliant.

    Jun 25, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Essentially an old-school Western with some interesting tweaks, Slow West -- the debut feature from musician-turned-filmmaker John Maclean -- is a simple story told, yes, slowly. But it offers a bang-up finish.

    Jun 11, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Jim Slotek

    Toronto Sun
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Slow West

  • Dec 17, 2017
    This attempt of an arthouse Western movie is only 80 minutes long but feels like two hours. It's okay to tell a story slowly but you should never make your audience feel as if they just wasted their time. It doesn't help that the humor feels so out of place and random even the editing makes other scenes unintentionally funny. Some sequences are beautifully shot, but the pointlessly bittersweet ending really makes you want to forget you watched this. What was everyone involved thinking?
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2016
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2015
    Every now and again comes a film wherein all the characters are chasing something they want, and often that thing needn't be much of anything. So is the case here where we are introduced to several different types of folks, all in search of the same thing, in this case $2000, which may not seem like a lot now but back then was quite a lot. A nicely told tale.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 25, 2015
    An exercise in subtle, quiet, and poetic filmmaking, Slow West is a familiar western story done in an unfamiliar way. The film follows a teen boy, recently emigrating from Scotland, in search for a woman he loves. That woman, Rose, becomes that center of attention for numerous bounty hunters as her and her father become wanted over a supposed murder. First time director John Maclean gives an impressively mature feel to the film, which features a number of impressive performances, headlined by Michael Fassbender. He is able to find a unique tone of the film and stick with it, one that is matter-of-fact, oddly cold, and peculiarly disinterested with the triumph or failure of the characters. It's a movie that deals with themes of love and death, but in a nearly nihilistic way, with a sort of forlorn sensibility that permeates the story. There's fairly sparse dialogue, but some humor. It's a slow build, but also accented with moments of peak action. It's never dull, but Slow West is also never really enveloping. It borders on too detached; we don't feel tied to any one character. It's almost as if we're watching a documentary, we appreciate the realism, but fail to identify with the heart of the story. 3.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer

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