First Cow

First Cow ★★★★

First Cow is Kelly Reichardt's delicate take on a male-bonding western story, with her typical arthouse inputs and abundant sensitivity.

This movie chronicles the friendship between two pioneers against a backdrop of crude wilderness and vicious human behaviors, fueled by the arrival of a dairy cow that changes their lives forever. Visually the cinematography is expectedly top-notch, with constant offerings of transporting beauty, thanks to the breathtaking natural locations and fluent camerawork. What truly sets the story apart the most is the inclusion of an Asian character in a 19th American pioneer story, which has never been done before on the big screen. The two leading actors demonstrate the type of believable chemistry that draws the audience in with their charming interaction and rapports.

Reichardt herself is perfectly aware of "less is more", so much so she ensured that every thread of the storyline be concisely orchestrated without running the risk of repetition or over-explaining, and she added scores at all the apt moments so as to bring out the sense of loneliness characteristic to that specific era of primitiveness and brutality.

First Cow is the type of movie that can be interpreted in different contexts, thus making it an interesting piece of work to chew on and ponder. Despite its miniaturist style, First Cow is without a doubt a gentle and lyrical ride that's going to linger. Recommended.

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