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Salvation, The


Stars: Mads Mikkelson, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce, Douglas Henshall, Eric Cantona, Mikael Persbrandt, Nanna Oland Frabricius, Michael Raymond-Jones, Aidan Lithgow

Director: Kristian Levring

A Danish western! And the first thing to say about this smorgasbord oater is that its settings just don't look American - unsurprising, perhaps, as the film was largely shot in South Africa, whose plains can't match authentic US settings any more than they did in the equally dismal The Hellions decades ago.

Sombre, but silly and quite highly stylised, the film does resemble some of the spaghetti westerns that followed along the trail of A Fistful of Dollars. It's 1871 and seven years earlier, brothers Jon (Mikkelson) and Peter (Persbrandt) escaped from the Danish-German war, forging a new life in America.

As the relentlessly downbeat proceedings begin, Jon's wife and son arrive in the new land, only to have two local bullies barge aboard the stagecoach, to surprisingly little protest from the couple who've paid for their seats.

En route, fuelled by alcohol, they toss Jon off the stage, kill his son and rape and murder his wife. The driver and guard are also shot down. Jon catches up and shoots the men, but unfortunately one of them was the brother of Delarue (Morgan) who runs and virtually owns the local town, and now takes over his dead brother's wife (Green), a mute whose tongue was cut out by Indians.

The famous Green bosom heaves and the eyes flash, but the loss of dialogue robs this powerful actress of her cutting edge. Other roles are conventionally played, with ex-footballer Cantona incongruous as Morgan's main henchman. And if you don't guess who's going to gun the villain down at the end at a very early stage, you haven't seen very many westerns.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour (unspecified).
91 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Apr 2015