Western style short film “The High Ridge” from filmmaker Julien Lasseur follows a husband and wife bounty hunting duo who are on a break in the mountains after their latest kill.
As they recap their recent history of kills for cash, the wife, Phoebe, wonders if they are being followed and encourages her husband to look out over the high ridge for a sniper.
A bit downtrodden and lackadaisical, he instead looks out on the low ridge insisting that no one had followed them. He then comically focuses on how he lost the bounty hunter of the year award and how greatly disappointing it was. The lead actor, (Brian Groh’s) performance was very entertaining and reminded me of Don Johnson as “Big Daddy” in “Django Unchained” a comparison I will touch on in a moment.
Although this film is flush with a gorgeous backdrop and captivating cinematography by DP Nate Stifler, I know I have seen it before. The iconic 2009 film “Django Unchained” from Quentin Tarantino basically has the same plot down to the bounty hunter storyline.
I can appreciate that the filmmaker is an admirer of Tarantino, as am I, but if this were to be an homage to his work he probably should have gone for a straight up parody of Django rather than a close copy.
I really think modifying the script to having the actors talk about being something other than bounty hunters would help, because it was hard for me to differentiate this from Tarantino.
I appreciate the potential the filmmaker has, and the direction shows promise, but it is missing the flair that would made this wholly unique and fresh, and a new storyline on the next venture would certainly help.
That being said, the cinematography, editing, score, sound design, and lead performance in this piece were a treat to watch and listen to, and I will look forward to seeing what new work Lasseur has to offer in the future, as I think he could ultimately develop into an interesting filmmaker.
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