As it has proven countless times, cinema is the medium of resurrection. May it be biopics of deceased people, revived careers of actors or directors, or past genres. It also is able to invent something new. So while there may be a comeback for the typically american genre of the western, due to Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds“, “Django Unchained” and Verbinsky’s “The Lone Ranger“, it may not be american-only anymore.
I’m speaking of Andreas Prohaska’s alps-western “The Dark Valley“. An American photographer (Sam Riley) comes into a small mountain village in the Austrian Alps, ruled by patriarch big farmer Brenner (Hans-Michael Rehberg). The villagers are quite hostile towards him, they don’t like foreigners. And as soon as the first snow arrives, Brenner’s seven sons start showing up dead, one at a time.
The movie does not have the best of scripts, and the plot is pretty foreseeable. If you know the genre, then you know it’s gonna be a revenge-film. But it has great visuals and quite solid acting. The viewer keeps constantly asking about the motive for the strange incidents. Sadly, the is a lengthy flashback in the middle of the movie that provides a more than sufficient answer, but also takes away all the mystery. The filmmakers should have rather deleted that scene.
And even though the movie is a period piece, set in the 19th century, there are two pop songs, which definitely don’t belong in it.
All criticism aside, I enjoyed the movie, it was entertaining, and still had some twists as aces in the sleeve. Hopefully, there are gonna be more alps-western in the future.