Western: Callum’s Take

Western

You don’t often get a title that gets right to the point in telling us the theme of a film. Western is very clearly a film influenced by the old spaghetti western film from the days of Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone. While this is an update, set in modern day Bulgaria, it still follows the same story tropes as those classic films did. Everything from the feel of isolation in a changing world, to the dust swept settings, right down to the mostly silent, outsider protagonist. 

Meinhard (portrayed by Meinhard Neumann) is a stoic German worker for higher, taken on with some other Germans to help with the construction of a hydro-plant in Bulgaria. The work is tiring, stressful and only adequately prepared for them – tensions are high enough from that alone. What doesn’t help is that the German and Bulgarian workers are constantly at odds. The culture differences and language barrier constantly put the groups at odds. When the Germans start getting a little too involved with the people within the village, the tentative peace between them threatens to break.

Much like the films that influenced it, Western is very much a slow burn story. But that is exactly how good tension is made. You have no real idea as to what the outcome will be. No, you don’t believe that this will end in a big showdown, guns blazing and long, epic faceoffs and stares. It’s made clear from the get go that this is not that kind of film. But you are tense nether the less because this does feel like real life. There’s very little gloss to what you see, to the point where it at times feels like footage someone shot on a handheld. I mean that in the best possible way – the same way that made such films as District 9 stand out when they were released. This alone is all we need to know how dangerous these prejudices can be, and how they could end.



For a film that is clearly made on a low budget, it is very well shot and edited. Every scene lets the characters and scenery breathe. Bulgaria has some lovely buildings and landscapes to it and – while it doesn’t feel very tourist-y – it does add to the atmosphere. The hot sun, the rising tensions, and also the kind wonderment of its people and villages. The visuals are what tell most of this films story. Were they any lesser, then it wouldn’t have worked nearly as well as an overall film. The acting does help, with very good performances from its cast all around. Meinhard in particular worked as a nice nod to the days of Wayne and Eastwood, with a little bit of Robert Shaw in there for good measure.

At times Western does get really slow. And I do mean really slow. Moments like this are few, but they do happen. However, my biggest issue with the film came after having watched it. It didn’t really strike me until I was about to start writing this that Western is not a very memorable film. Despite moderately enjoying it at the time, there was very little about it that stuck with me. It’s a shame because I do feel that films like this deserve to be seen. Perhaps it’s because I am unfamiliar with the region, having never visited myself, or that I know little to nothing about German/Bulgarian relations, but the story didn’t feel like it was gripping me as well as it should do.

In the end Western deserves to be seen. If anyone is aspiring to be a film maker or has an affinity for those spaghetti westerns then I highly recommend it. It just wasn’t for me. It’s not so much because not much happens in Western – it’s more because it didn’t leave the impact it had intended to with me. There’s little more I can say, if you get the chance to see then do so. I just won’t be revisiting it.


We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.


Trending on BRWC:

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

By BRWC / 9th July 2024
I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 25th June 2024
Inside Out 2: The BRWC Review

Inside Out 2: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 23rd June 2024
Boys Like You: The BRWC Review

Boys Like You: The BRWC Review

By Rudie Obias / 21st June 2024
Spirited Away: Review

Spirited Away: Review

By BRWC / 28th June 2024

Cool Posts From Around the Web:



Callum spends most free days with friends (mostly watching films, to be honest), caring for his dog, writing, more writing and watching films whenever he can find the chance (which is very often).

NO COMMENTS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.