Vicky Krieps in Viggo Mortensen Western – The Hollywood Reporter

Viggo Mortensen may sit proudly in the saddle, but co-star Vicky Krieps is the true central figure of the revisionist Western, which marks the actor’s second effort as a director and screenwriter after 2020 Falling.

It will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The dead don’t hurt features many classic attributes of the venerable genre, including a villain who literally wears a black hat. But it also offers a distinctly modern feminist approach that makes it a deeply moving romance rather than a traditional oatmeal. With the excellent performances of the two main actors, the film is a western for people who don’t like westerns.

The dead don’t hurt

The conclusion

No sophomore slump for this talented actor/filmmaker.

Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (special presentations)
Pour: Vicky Krieps, Viggo Mortensen, Solly McLeod, Garret Dillahunt, Colin Morgan, Ray McKinnon, W. Earl Brown, Atlas Green, Danny Huston
Director-screenwriter: Viggo Mortensen

2 hours 9 minutes

Set on the western frontier in the 1860s, the story begins with Mortensen’s character, a Danish immigrant, burying his wife, who has died of an unspecified illness. We only find out what happened as the film progresses and describes the love affair between Holger (Mortensen) and the French-Canadian Vivienne (Krieps) after they met in San Francisco. Although Vivienne is already in a relationship with another man, a wealthy art dealer, the attraction between her and the taciturn but polite Holger is immediately noticeable.

It’s not long before she travels with him to the remote town of Nevada, where he works as a carpenter and moves into his barren cabin in a deserted valley surrounded only by dirt. The two enjoy a happy life together, with the independent-minded Vivienne selling flowers and taking a job at a local saloon. But when civil war breaks out, Holger impulsively volunteers and leaves them to fend for themselves.

It turns out to be a fateful decision, as it isn’t long before she is brutally beaten and raped by Weston (British actress Solly McLeod)., appropriately despicable), the violent son of a powerful rancher (Garret Dillahunt) who is a business partner of the town’s corrupt mayor (Danny Huston, who is as good as his father John at projecting evil disguised as charm). Everyone in town ignores the obviously heinous crime that results in Vivienne giving birth to a son.

When Holger returns home years later, he is shocked to find Vivienne holding a little boy (Atlas Green). When she explains what happened, he immediately grabs a gun and goes to confront Weston, but she tells him that he has already left town after killing some Mexicans. Holger soon accepts the situation, raises the boy as his own child, resumes his blissful domesticity with Vivienne and incidentally becomes the town’s sheriff.

The film’s melodramatic, violent plot elements are ultimately less interesting than its subtle portrait of two mature, emotionally available individuals who form a loving bond despite numerous disagreements and tough obstacles. The dialogue is mostly rudimentary: “How was your war?” In a typical example, Vivienne asks Holger about his return – but the underlying emotions are fully conveyed by Mortensen and Krieps. The former plays back in typical fashion, letting his confident masculinity, diamond-cutting cheekbones (sometimes even hidden beneath a thick beard) and commanding screen presence fill the screen, while Krieps delivers another stunning turn in a career already destined for greatness seems to be . Her Vivienne – warm yet iron-willed, courageous yet vulnerable, fierce yet loving – is a complex, fascinating character who is captivating every moment she is on screen.

Mortensen demonstrates a sure hand behind the camera, bringing an elegant visual style to the slow-paced proceedings, supported by Marcel Zyskind’s handsome widescreen cinematography and a plaintive score composed by himself. The dead don’t hurt feels stylistically more confident than the sonically shaky, if touching, one FallingAnd even the occasional missteps – such as the overreliance on fantasy sequences in which Vivienne imagines her late father as a knight in armor – don’t prove detrimental to the film’s overall impact.

Full credits

Venue: Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentations)
Production: Talipot Studio, Recorded Picture Company, Perceval Pictures
Cast: Vicky Krieps, Viggo Mortensen, Solly McLeod, Garret Dillahunt, Colin Morgan, Ray McKinnon, W. Earl Brown, Atlas Green, Danny Huston
Director, screenwriter and composer: Viggo Mortensen
Producers: Regina Solorzano, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Thomas
Executive Producers: Roberto Paxson, Gabriel Terrazas, George Bennett, Andrew Kotliar, Ivan Kelava, Daniel Beckerman, Jesper Morthorst, Paula Astorga Riestra, Peter Watson
Cameraman: Marcel Zyskind
Production Designers: Carol Spier, Jason Clarke
Editor: Peder Pedersen
Costume designer: Anne Dixon
Cast: Jeanne McCarthy, Nathalie Boutrie

2 hours 9 minutes

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