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Sweetwater (Blu-ray Review)

29 Jan, 2014 By: John Latchem

Box Office $0.006 million
$20.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence, language, some sexual content and graphic nudity.
Stars January Jones, Ed Harris, Jason Isaacs, Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Root, Jason Aldean.

There’s a lot to admire about Logan and Noah Miller’s Sweetwater, a rugged Western about a widow seeking revenge for her murdered husband.

The script has some good ideas and nice dialogue, and the performances are generally solid. I just wish it wasn’t shot in such a laborious manner. Fortunately, at just an hour-and-a-half it doesn’t wear out its welcome.

January Jones ("Mad Men") plays Sarah, a former prostitute who has settled into marriage with Miguel (Eduardo Noriega), forging a new life as dirt poor but happy farmers on the frontier. Miguel runs afoul of Josiah (Jason Isaacs), a local religious leader whose insanity leads to his belief that he must enforce the will of God and rid the Earth of sinners.  Miguel accuses Josiah’s sheep of eating his crops, so Josiah slits his throat.

Meanwhile, the eccentric Cornelius Jackson (Ed Harris) rides into town and, in one of the film’s better scenes, beats the snot out of the inept sheriff and relieves him of duty. Jackson was sent by the governor to find two of his relatives who have gone missing.

Of course, they’re missing because their wagon broke down, their horse died, and to survive they ate a couple of Josiah’s loose sheep, prompting the mad preacher to murder them, too, for the sin of theft. The wayward travelers are actually played by the Millers, no doubt enjoying the wry indulgence of killing themselves off in their own movie.

As Jackson investigates their deaths with some clever early forensics, Sarah begins searching for her missing husband, eventually finding his body in the possession of two of Josiah’s goons, whom she promptly blows away. She soon sets about hunting down everyone who wronged her in the movie (all of whom, coincidentally enough, are pals with Josiah), but not before burying her husband and leaving an empty, open grave next to him. This is a nice touch, subtly calling to mind the old proverb that before setting out for revenge, one must dig two graves.

The Blu-ray includes a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and a playable track of the end-credits song.


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