The full-circle final scene of this moody morality tale doesn’t fully repair the separation between the first act and the rest, and there are other script stumbles too (see the Carlisle-carny tension that goes nowhere), but every piece compels in spite of the whole; the cinematography and design is showstopping, the cast’s got panache a-plenty, and the violence and deception is shut-eye(s) thrilling (“When a man believes his own lies… people get hurt… And when the lies end, there it is”).
An anthology film comprised of six stories, each dealing with a different aspect of life in the Old West. (IMDb)
The discomforting and racist villainous portrayal of “Indians” should’ve been thrown away but the rest of the classic Western potpourri here provide lots of cozy charm (love those songs sprinkled throughout) and frigid chills amidst what is a uniquely curated collection of stories (some delightfully bizarre like the titular tale with its compelling narration and amazing climactic duet; others a bit more plodding and unremarkable) about death and judgment and the diehard American dream.
A wrongfully convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he joins the job of digging holes for some mysterious reason. (IMDb)
An already unique premise here is given a delicious second layer of back-story that pops up in the current tale in a peppering of delightful past-present parallels and fulfilled prophecies that work well with the bleak but intriguing desert setting. LaBeouf’s hard-luck Stanley, meanwhile, leads an enjoyable cast of characters that includes a loveable gang of misfit adolescents and three wonderfully nasty bad guys, bringing some heart to this immensely satisfying mystery story.
An infectious and wonderful old-timey soundtrack accompanies this highly enjoyable 1930s-set adventure-comedy, full of hilarious mishaps, well-crafted and witty dialogue, and a diverse set of memorable characters that range from charming to deadly. You never stop rooting for the three chain-gang escapees (played wonderfully by Clooney, Nelson, and Turturro) as they stumble towards a satisfying happy ending. Lots of memorable scenes in what is one of my personal favourites.