These days the Western genre has somewhat of a cult status. When a new Western makes the rounds there’s high expectations for it as they don’t come round that often anymore.
That said, here we have a new one, all the way from US of A, The Bygone is a modern-day set Western that does its best to meld old and new. It is absolutely beautiful to look at, the scenery and shot selection belies its modest budget.
That said however, it is sadly the story that lets the film down as a whole. It’s nothing new and sadly cliched at a lot of points, it’s also very, very obvious.
The film centres around Kip Summer, Graham Phillips (“The Goodwife (TV)”, “Riverdale (TV)”), a lonely wannabe cowboy who lives with his father, who has gout, on a farm that is struggling.
Whilst out at a prostitute bar he meets Waniya, Sydney Schafer (“Face Off (TV)”, “Nocturnal Animals”), a prostitute who’s being beaten up. He steps in, though not entirely successfully, Waniya slamming the guy in the head with a telephone.
He falls for her, picking her up whilst she’s walking home and taking her in. But it doesn’t last, as Paris, Shawn Hatosy (“Animal Kingdom (TV)”, “Southland (TV)”), her pimp, keeps coming and coming and coming.
Kip tries his best to find Paris and Waniya, even the local Sheriff gets involved, Mike McColl (“What Lies Beneath (TV)”, “Escape Plan II”), but Paris is like the Terminator; he just keeps coming and coming, surviving, despite getting shot multiple times and when everyone else dies around him, despite them having ample opportunity to put an end to things.
As the movie hits the hour mark, the clichés begin to come thick and fast and stack up higher than Everest. This is a real shame as, up until this point, the cinematography and quality of the movie had made for compelling watching, though you do begin to think things may turn out this way.
It is more than obvious who is involved, so that comes as no surprise, the pointers throughout are just too big, they become glaring and then you end up rolling your eyes when they arrive.
Phillips does ok in the lead, though he looks so young and soft, that it’s hard to imagine he could ever stand up to the adversity he is faced with. Ritchie Coster (“Happy! (TV)”, “True Detective (TV)”) meanwhile, plays Kips uncle and does so with an air of menace, power and glee that’s delightful to watch.
As our main woman tying this whole thing together, Schafer doesn’t get a whole lot to do besides being beaten up a lot. She straddles the line between weak and strong which can be a little confusing at times.
The Bygone starts brilliantly, the look and feel of the movie is fantastic, it just needed a story that was equal to it to truly make it stand out.
The Bygone will be available on Digital Download from 2nd March.