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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

THE HOMESMAN

DVD Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  123 minutes, three featurettes, previews, digital ultraviolet copy

VIDEO:  2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO:  English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles:  English, Spanish

 

STUDIO:  Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions/ EuropaCorp/ Saban Films/ Javelina Film Company/ Ithaca Films

RELEASE DATES:  2-17-2015

During 1854 in the Nebraska frontier, independent and pious single woman Mary Bee Caddy (Hilary Swank) is given the task to pick up three crazy women driven mad by frontier life to a church in Iowa (where a kind minister’s wife (Meryl Streep in a very small role).  She rescues low-life drifter/ army deserter George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) from the noose and he agrees to help her with the thankless and tough task ahead.  Mary and Briggs must brave the weather and even Indians during their journey where the three crazy women can’t even communicate (and one thinks she is God). 

 

THE HOMESMAN is an unusual Western tale from director Tommy Lee Jones as he shows the little known sorrows that are rarely shown in movies of the hardships women faced out in the Western frontier in the 19th century.  Some women couldn’t take the hard life and went crazy for one reason or another.   Some of the men in Mary’s town refuse to do the thankless job of charity of transporting these women in a caged wagon with a bolt on the back door.  Hilary Swank is great as the hard and lonely spinster who sees marriage too much as a business proposition as the clock is ticking for her while Tommy Lee Jones steals the show as aimless drifter Briggs.   James Spader has a small part in addition to Hallie Stansfield.  The minimalist approach to the look helps build this harsh world that many lived through when they went out West to find a new life.  Even though there are about three Western-like scenes you would find in your typical Western, THE HOMESMAN is a tale of harsh life and insanity that would fit in any time period.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

ORIGINS- cast and crew talk about how the project came together and how they prepared for it while Tommy lee Jones remarks how the actors did in their roles.

SHOOTING THE FILM- a behind-the-scenes look at filming the movie in New Mexico (doubling for Arizona) and Georgia as you learn how they made the film including building a hotel in harsh weather and then burning it down.

BEYODN THE WESTERN- cast and crew talk about whether this movie is a Western or not in addition to talking about 19th Century life.

 

Previews for other Lionsgate releases including THE DYING LIGHT are on the disc, but the trailer for THE HOMESMAN isn’t among the extras or previews.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  THE HOMESMAN is a great non-traditional Western which paints a bleak and tough look at frontier life and the effects it has on women.

 

This review is 2-18-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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