HOMESMAN, THE

THE PLOT THUS FAR

Set in 1854 on the harsh Nebraska frontier, low-life drifter George Briggs (Jones) is rescued by a pious, independent-minded woman named Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank). To pay back his debt, George reluctantly agrees to help Mary transport three women driven mad by the harsh frontier life across the treacherous land – where a kindly minister’s wife (Streep) has offered them hospice. The unlikely pair soon realizes just how daunting the journey will be as the group traverses the vast Nebraska Territories, marked by stark beauty, psychological peril and constant danger.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

“The Homesman” really caught me by surprise. I love Westerns and I appreciate the attempt to stage a new revival, but the movie is such an odd affair. That being said, it’s another directorial effort from Tommy Lee Jones which means it’ll make Cormac McCarthy look chipper. The film works as a new kind of Western that wants to tackle social issues about the disenfranchise. Specifically, the women of the Old West that couldn’t handle being abandoned to male demands in the wilderness.

Brutality against women is something that rarely gets critical focus in Westerns. However, the three women that George Briggs transports to hospice are not uncommon the modern mentally ill or homeless. There’s a mid movie switch-up that puts more of the burden on Jones, but I have to say that the level of complexity shown in each woman’s breakdown was astounding. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a Western tackle issues like this. Having watched the movie three times in the last week, I’m stunned that it didn’t receive more attention.

The Blu-Ray comes with featurettes as the special features. You also get a Digital HD copy for people that like to take this stuff on the road. The A/V Quality is stunning for a quiet Western. The 1080p transfer showcases a soft drab, while the DTS-HD 5.1 master track creates a sharp environment. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: 02/17/2015

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