- Directed by Lana Reed
- April 11, 2017 (US)
A marshal going to retrieve a murder suspect realizes there is more to the situation than there seems.
Western World is among the lowest of the low budget westerns that I’ve seen. But a low or minuscule budget does not necessarily make a poor film. There are many other things that negatively affect a film.
The shots in the town of Dogwood Pass (the replica town of Dogwood Pass in Ohio) are rather tight. Not sure how big this replica town is but I am left thinking it is quite small. And that extends to the shots. But based on limited camera movement I cannot believe they were that big. Pity the actors if somebody farted. But that’s not the weakest part of the film.
What IS the weakest part is the acting. These are not the most seasoned performers. Or maybe they just did everything in one take with only minimal rehearsing. The lack of acting polish really harms everything else. And worse Camille Tammery/Lucy Silver (Amanda Miller) is the weakest of all. She is meant to be evil and seductive yet comes off as just rude.
What Western World has going for it is that it is not your usual Western story. It is a murder mystery that starts rather simply with US Marshal Moses White (Christopher Rowley) arriving in town and growing from there. White is more Columbo than traditional Western lawman. He comes in and almost right away starts listening to what is being said and asking probing questions.
For 70 minutes they pack in a lot of twists and turns, and there’s a lot of deductive reasoning on the part of Moses White as he picks apart the stories and analyzing the issues in the assorted narratives that comprise the murder plot. As a concept he’s a rather interesting detective, but the actor behind him is not the most polished.
Another strike against this movie is that once the truth about the murder all comes out, they stretch the story just a little bit more. It’s as if they realized they didn’t have quite enough to make it a movie so they need to put a little bit more story on. And that was a mistake because by doing that it’s pulling a Billy Maze by going “But wait! There’s more!” This additional material does not connect well to the main story. It just introduces another character and another set of dirty secrets that need to come out.
Director Lana Reed does a fine job with what little she has. I just wish she had a better budget or at the minimum had more polish to the actor’s performances. I think this could’ve been something special with a little bit more money and a little bit better actors. As it stands it rises above some of its weaknesses, but not nearly enough of them and not nearly high enough.
Ultimately though Western World is not entirely unwatchable, but it’s so much worse than it should have been. I think hard-core Western fans will find something worth watching in this but your casual moviegoer probably will have issues with the budget and low production values.