The western is one of my favorite films genres. There's just something about the simplicity of the open terrain, the solitary gunfighter, and the town in need of saving that will always appeal to me.
That being said, I also love when the genre is tweaked a bit or relocated to an unusual setting. Films like THE PROPOSITION, SLOW WEST, RED HILL, THE GRAND SILENCE, and THE SALVATION are just a handful of examples of films I love that do this.
Well, I have another film for that list and you guys will get a chance to see it soon thanks to the cool kids at Uncork'd Entertainment. That film is called FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES.
I first saw the film on the last day of FANTASTIC FEST 2017 and have been urging people ever since to check out the film as soon as it becomes available. Which now turns out will be in just a few weeks. Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Imagine Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven; or John Wayne in The Searchers. Now journey from the sweeping plains of America’s Old West to the unforgiving hinterlands of South Africa. Then update the archetypal gunfighter to steely black cowboys who are deft horsemen and lethal marksmen. The result is the boldly original and modern take on the Western genre, Five Fingers for Marseilles, filmed on location in the North-Eastern Cape village of Lady Grey, South Africa. The movie marks the feature directorial debut of Michael Matthews and the feature screenwriting debut of Sean Drummond.
Matthews and Drummond honor the traditional Western genre — and its Spaghetti and revisionist variations — while exporting the trappings into a fresh contemporary story set against the backdrop of post-Apartheid South Africa. Five Fingers for Marseilles takes place in a small town “governed” by dubious local officials, living in fear of a lawless mob; when an exiled outlaw returns home in search of solace and redemption, brotherhood and loyalty are fused with vengeance.
Combining the socio-political threads found in many a great Western; stunning visuals captured in panoramic widescreen lensing; and a cast of talented South African actors giving powerful, nuanced performances, Matthews and Drummond deliver
Synopsis: The residents of the colonial town of Marseilles are under the thumb of police oppression and only the young rebels known as the Five Fingers are willing to stand up to them. Their battle is just, until Tau kills two policemen and flees the scene. The remaining rebels disband while the banished Tau resorts to a life of crime. Twenty years later, now known as feared outlaw The Lion of Marseilles, he is released from prison. He returns home, desiring only peace and to reconnect with those he left behind. The battle for South Africa’s freedom has been won, and former comrades-in-arms are in prominent positions as mayor, police chief, and pastor. But it quickly becomes clear to Tau that Marseilles is caught in the grip of a vicious new threat — and he must reconstitute the Five Fingers to fight frontier justice. Standing against former allies and new enemies, the re-formed Five Fingers saddle up and ride out, and put their lives at risk to save their beloved Marseilles.
Here is the one sheet:
This film is top notch and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves badass foreign cinema or just westerns in general. We'll have a full review from one of the AICN staff closer to the release date but until then check out the official trailer. It does a great job of conveying the tone of the film:
What do you guys think? Let us know or you can even just recommend other great westerns!
FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES will hit theaters on September 7th.