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Review: The Salvation

The American West is a harsh, cruel world – and not just for Americans.

Mads Mikkelsen stars in The Salvation, a violent revenge drama centered on the plight on a Danish refugee trying to survive the Wild West.  After seven years living in America, Jon’s wife and son finally make their way from Denmark to reunite and start life anew. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes almost instantly, in both uncomfortable and familiar fashion.

The scene is painful to watch; you probably have an idea of what takes place, though director Kristian Levring does exercise much needed restraint. Mikkelsen’s Jon is a serious, reserved man whose pain and anger is visible even when he doesn’t say anything. After the incident, Jon dispatches some baddies who apparently have ties to the biggest baddie (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and quickly Jon is the one being hunted.

The Salvation moves quickly and methodically, a stripped-down, bloody tale that doesn’t waste time with unnecessary exposition or pondering. Mikkelsen is an instantly sympathetic figure, as is his brother (Mikael Persbrandt), and when Morgan’s Delarue starts randomly killing townspeople, you know he’s pretty villainous.

Jonathan Pryce and Douglas Henshall serve well as those town administrators caught between doing right and surviving, though that matters little to Jon. Eva Green costars as well, bringing a powerful female force to the screen despite the fact that her character is a mute.

That’s the triumph of the story: the ability to show without telling, exemplified by Green’s character. It’s a simple and common story, but a welcome one, told with deft and efficiency while being unapologetically brutal without being gratuitous.

[star v=35]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.