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.
On Feb. 17, Austin Film Society will present a special screening of “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” Sidney Lumet’s final feature film starring Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman, complete with a conversation with Hawke about the making of the film, and collaborating with Lumet and Hoffman.
The following evening, Hawke will be the featured guest at an AFS Artist Spotlight, where he will participate in a live, on-stage conversation about his life and work with AFS Artistic Director and Founder Richard Linklater, Hawke’s long-time creative collaborator.
Hawke is the star of Linklater’s “Before” trilogy, “Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset,” and “Before Midnight,” considered by many to be both some of the most romantic and realistic-about-marriage films of their era.
Hawke is also the star of the extraordinary “Boyhood” and has appeared in other Linklater films such as “The Newton Boys” and “Waking Life.”
Both Linklater and Hawke will participate in a private reception Feb. 18. A very limited number of tickets are on sale for the reception and can be purchased by contacting AFS Director of Relationships and Revenue, Lauren Alexander-Labahn at Lauren@austinfilm.org. Tickets are $275 for the public and $250 for AFS Members.
Tickets to the screening are $25 public / $15 for AFS Members. Tickets for the AFS Artist Spotlight are $40 General Public / $30 for AFS Members. Tickets for both are $60 for the public and $40 for AFS members. All are on sale now at austinfilm.org/EthanHawke. Ticket packages are on sale here.