Filmmaker Kelly Reichardt has lengthy chronicled the lives of younger other folks within the Pacific Northwest who’re metaphorically or spiritually misplaced. For the 2010 movie “Meek’s Cutoff,” she and creator Jonathan Raymond flip again the clock to 1845 and the early days of the Oregon Path, the place being misplaced used to be no longer only a way of thinking, however an overly actual bodily risk. Reichardt muse Michelle Williams leads a solid that incorporates Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, and Will Patton as a bunch of settlers journeying west. They rent a wooly mountain guy, the eponymous Meek (Bruce Greenwood), to prepared the ground however quickly in finding themselves off the path, adrift in a desolate panorama with only a few figuring out markers. When a Local American guy (Rod Rondeaux) crosses their trail and turns out to know his manner out of the desolate tract, the settlers are torn between following the white guy in whom they have got already positioned such a lot accept as true with, or the stranger they have got been raised to view as an enemy.
The place maximum Westerns make the most of the land’s herbal expansiveness with widescreen vistas, Reichardt takes the other tack, capturing in a decent, slender 1.33:1 field. And whilst stillness and silence have lengthy been the equipment of this director’s business, right here they tackle existential dread. It used to be uncommon on the time for Reichardt to paintings with such a lot of skilled, well known actors, however they’re uniformly very good, particularly Williams because the de facto chief of the settlers and Greenwood because the inscrutable, in the end pointless Meek. In spite of its PG ranking, “Meek’s Cutoff” is a grim, haunting parable that does not shy clear of the realities and risks of frontier existence.