First Cow

First Cow ★★★★½

Picaresque isn't a genre I would normally think plays to Kelly Reichardt's strengths but I wouldn't have pegged her as one of her generation's preeminent directors of Westerns, either, which between this and Meek's Cutoff I think she uncontestably is. And a picaresque Western is pretty much what First Cow, in its quiet, cadenced, autumnal way, amounts to: Candide by way of Canyon Passage, touching on friendship, artistry, the origins of America's fried dough concession industry, a gentle reminder that all capitalist endeavor is rooted in theft, and the late René Auberjonois completing the circle of life with McCabe and Mrs. Miller, whose influence on this film is profound and manifold.

Oh, and Toby Jones repeating "clafoutis."

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