SXSW Film review: ‘In a Valley of Violence’

Ethan Hawke in "A Valley of Violence."

Ethan Hawke in “A Valley of Violence.”

Of everything on my schedule this year, Ti West’s classic spaghetti-style western, “In a Valley of Violence,” was something I was seriously looking forward to, and West doesn’t dissappoint.

“In a Valley of Violence” is just downright entertaining, with all the tropes of a Sergio Leone-esque gunslinger flick without being gratuitously explicit in the formulaic recreation of probably the most enduring of all the American genres of film-making, besides the gangster flick.

There is a dry humor that refreshingly pervades the film.  John Travolta plays   the Marshal, with Ethan Hawke as Paul, the stoic stranger, and with James Ransone as Gilley, the psychotic villain. The three deliver a well-crafted cocktail of humor, violence and suspense.

The film is classic in its plot: Stranger passes through town with his dog, his anonymity compromised due to a challenge to his character. And a wrong is visited upon said stranger that will only be recompensed with blood.

The score is epic. In Ti West fashion, the kills are gruesome yet oddly tasteful, and the tone is ruthless and funny.

West has taken the heightened reality of the spaghetti western and made it his own. Go see it. You can catch “In a Valley of Violence” at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Marchesa.

 

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