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Meek’s Cutoff

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For her follow-up to Wendy and Lucy, Kelly Reichardt chose to make Meek's Cutoff, a film about a historical journey and the people who suffered through it. But is her minimal filmmaking style effective for a historical drama?

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"Is he ignorant or is he just plain evil?"

The story of the real Meek’s Cutoff is an interesting and tragic tale in the early days of the Oregon Trail. Many pioneers lost their lives as they followed their guide, Stephen Meek, and proceeded to get lost. For her follow-up to Wendy and Lucy, Kelly Reichardt chose to make a film about this historical journey and the people who suffered while on it. But is her minimal filmmaking style effective for a historical drama? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Kelly Reichardt series with her 2010 film Meek’s Cutoff

We talk about the nature of stories told in media res and discuss if it works for a historical film like this one. We discuss Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton and the other actors performing here and look at what they bring to the table (and if any can top Bruce’s crazy character). And we chat about the look of the film and what Kelly, paired with her new cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, were saying with their static shots, long takes, yellow tint, dark night scenes and 1.33:1 aspect ratio. 

It’s an interesting film. Not one we liked but an interesting one to look at and discuss, to be sure. Tune in!

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