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Sweetwater

Movie Details

Sweetwater
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Date: 2012-04-13 Limited
  • Running Time: 109 min.
  • Director: Brian Skiba
  • Cast: John Savage, Dean Cain, William Katt, Holly Lynch
  • Producers: Laurie Love, Dominic Ross
  • Writer: Kim Hughes
  • Distributor: Victory Angel Films
  • Official Site: Sweetwater Official Site

Logan Miller's Sweetwater begins in the same faux-lyrical register as most other neo-westerns to ride into town over the last few decades. There are the requisite sweeping vistas, flowery musings, and an abrupt act of violence. Even more shopworn are its characters, most of whom are slight variations on familiar archetypes: the former prostitute trying to better her life (January Jones); an eccentric lawman brought in by the governor to make heads or tails of a double murder that doesn't sit right (Ed Harris); and a self-proclaimed prophet who murders people because it is apparently the God-given right of religiously perverse bad guys to do so (Jason Isaacs, even seedier than in the Harry Potter movies). The brothers Miller (Logan's brother Noah co-wrote the screenplay) don't develop this trio so much as put the three of them in increasingly violent situations that movie logic dictates can only be building toward one event: the climactic shootout. It's somewhat refreshing that said fracas ends up being more of an anticlimax, as it's one of few instances in which the film doesn't proceed exactly as expected. That Sweetwater is so generic doesn't prevent it from being intermittently entertaining-- there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes than with a mediocre western-- but this genre is one in which, fairly or not, latter-day practitioners are expected to justify their film's existence by either doing something new or executing old tropes exceptionally well.

Michael Nordine

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