Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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The film starts out strong. A weathered frontiersman kneeling by a fire with his horse in the frozen mountains of Nevada. A shot is fired and our frontiersman finds himself wounded, a bullet from the posse above that has been tracking him down. But why? Who are these men? Why is this man being hunted? What connection is there? What happened at Seraphim Falls?
It's overall a fine story that uncoils slowly and sensitively throughout the 2-hour run-time. The opening act raises plenty of questions, the answers to which will keep an astute film-goer rooted to their seat for the whole adventure. From the frozen, treacherous mountains to the dry bright deserts, the cinematography is utterly beautiful. The characters take the spotlight for the majority of the film, and what grand characters they are. Liam Neeson plays the somber, hardened Carter (the pursuer) while Pierce Brosnan plays the resourceful, desperate Gideon (the pursued). As we follow our characters across the beautiful, yet harsh landscape and through plenty of classic Western staples, we learn that there's a history between these two men. And it becomes clear that they aren't very different. At first it almost seems to take on a "Rambo-meets-Wild West" flavor, but still maintains its Western roots. It isn't terribly exciting, with most of the action being more suspenseful than savage. And after a time, it becomes a touch boring. As though the incredible length is an excuse to enforce the metaphor behind the title and get our men from the Heavenly heights to the Hellish wastelands. The acting is brilliant, the plot is sound, cinematography breathtaking, and the message clear and timeless. But it just moves so slowly and uneventfully, it makes it difficult to focus, especially after the proverbial cat is let out of the bag. It's as sparse for real excitement as the desert is for water. And despite the brilliant performances, the two characters have so little chemistry together. It could have easily been shortened considerably (the railroad scene wasn't all that useful) and that is probably what hurts this film the most. It was obviously conceived with care and love, but it isn't entirely received that way. Overall it's noteworthy in the fact that it's typical, yet beautiful. It's compelling, yet tiring. It's so close to being truly excellent that it pains my heart to give "Seraphim Falls" 5.5 out of 10.