First Cow

First Cow ★★★½


"History isn't here yet. It's coming, but maybe this time we can take it on our own terms."

A man and a dream, latched to the stripped freedom and wicked decay of American history; there's a general exploration of usual thematics here (ex: capitalism, masculinity, imperialism, etc.) that places a singular, sharp-eyed emphasis on both cyclical inequality and locating the power of friendship within the most horrid of places - something which Kelly Reichardt admirably attempts to reach, even if its overall investment doesn't succeed as much as I would've hoped for. The slow-burn narrative tactics often clash with the delicate naturalism of roaming through such a world, one of equal cruelty and innovation; however, the economic visual variety and melancholic approach to the story - a growth of empathy between three inhabitants of a rural landscape: a Chinese immigrant, a cook, and the first cow - makes for some bittersweet satisfaction.

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