9. Slow West
When we think of Westerns, we tend to imagine long, wistful shots of arid turf and stolid, work-hardened men engaging in imprecise gun battles. Slow West has the former in bucket-loads, choosing to savour the Wild West’s more romanticised elements before inevitably resorting to all-out violence.
It’s just about the most aptly titled Western to come out of the last few years, and that’s certainly not meant in any pejorative sense. Slow West is like a stick of dynamite with a really long fuse – it’s a slow burner, but once it explodes, it’s a light show that’s really worth sticking around for.
That’s not to say that the lead up to the film’s cabin shootout isn’t gripping – it’s only because Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee are so compelling that the inevitable violence feels so important. Their relationship borrows a lot from True Grit’s central couple, but it also adds several layers, drawing interesting parallels between two very distinct portrayals of masculinity.