Friday, January 29, 2021

Savage State Review: A Strong Setting and Beautiful Camera Western Camera Work

Alice Isaaz	...	Esther Kevin Janssens	Kevin Janssens	...	Victor Déborah François	Déborah François	...	Justine Bruno Todeschini	Bruno Todeschini	...	Edmond Constance Dollé	Constance Dollé	...	Madeleine Armelle Abibou	Armelle Abibou	...	Layla Maryne Bertieaux	Maryne Bertieaux	...	Abigaëlle Kate Moran	Kate Moran	...	Bettie Pierre-Yves Cardinal	Pierre-Yves Cardinal	...	Samuel Jerry Di Giacomo	Jerry Di Giacomo	...	Henry Grégoire Colin	Grégoire Colin	...	Monsieur de Lisle Lee Delong	Lee Delong	...	Miss Davis Vincent Grass	Vincent Grass	...	Grand Chef Mathieu Perotto	Mathieu Perotto	...	Jeune soldat James Gerard	James Gerard	...	Intendant hôtel

Release date: January 29, 2021
Running time: 120 minutes
Starring: Alice Isaaz, Kevin Janssens, Déborah François, Bruno Todeschini, Constance Dollé, Armelle Abidou, Maryne Bertieaux, Kate Moran
Written and Directed By: 
David Perrault

The American Civil War breaks out and a family of French colonists, settled in Missouri, decides to go back to France. Edmond, Madeleine, and their three daughters have to cross the whole country to reach New York.  To make this trip, they enlist the help of the mysterious and dangerous mercenary, Victor.

Hejer Anane	...	associate producer Sylvain Corbeil	...	producer Giles Daoust	...	executive producer Catherine Dumonceaux	...	executive producer Farès Ladjimi	...	producer Galilé Marion-Gauvin	...	line producer      Directed by  David Perrault	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   David Perrault	...	(screenplay)
Savage State starts off with a bang, with an action-packed opening that shows off what this film has going for it.  It is set in this mysterious place with some great camera work.  It starts with this wonderful shot where it overlooks the action and cuts out inside a building.  And it establishes a lot of the mystery of the film because the overall scene includes a mix of action, intrigue, and magic.  The camera work of this movie remains a highlight throughout the film, with some wonderful period shots of the outdoors including snow landscapes, some intense night shots, and some sweeping landscapes.  And this is all made the more realistic by some great costumes and tools of the time, from the intricate guns and clothing to the valuable commodities that are being traded.  And the story itself has an epic feel that will have you on the edge of your seat during this harrowing journey.  And on top of the visuals, the film also has great audio, with some especially good gunshot audio.  The weapons stand out when they are fired and really make you jump, a nice change to make the weapons sound weighty.  

But Savage State also has some choices that make this film seem just a little off at times.  I really enjoyed the main story of survival and the journey to New York, but the start of this journey seems tacked on.  Sure it started with a very tense situation, but it seems like a situations that was simply used to force this journey.  It was an odd scenario that just didn't mesh with the overall care taken in much of the rest of the setting.  And throughout the trip, the party is being pursued by a strange cast of bandits.  I really liked the main leader but the rest of the bandits wear Strangers Come At Night style masks that seem a little laughable.  I think it was made to make them intimidating but it just makes them look like an odd set of sidekicks.  And at several points they treat their leader as less of a leader, particularly with an odd scene around a fire.  She didn't evoke the respect I thought she deserved, which is all the stranger because it is coming from nameless, faceless minions.  And the movie, has a good dreamlike final sequence that is over all too quickly and is not as exciting as it could have been.  It has some great build up, but I felt like it could have been drawn out some more to make for an even more exciting conclusion.  

Savage State will take you on an civil war western adventure with its wonderful camera work, costumes, and strong soundtrack.

Rent it.

Western Drama Adventure Outlaw Bandit Showdown Gunplay
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Savage State is available digitally and on demand January 29, 2021.

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