IMDB: “An action western about a farmer who takes in an injured man with a satchel of cash. When a posse comes for the money, he must decide who to trust. Defending a siege, he reveals a gunslinging talent calling his true identity into question.”
Hollywood has tried for many years to recapture the western genre but, most of the time, they fail. They’re not able to build a world that allows the viewer to enjoy an immersive experience. In Old Henry‘s production notes, it said that writer/director Potsy Ponciroli really loved the western genre and that may be what made him so successful with this one.
Old Henry immediately transports the audience into the 1900s with every small detail. John Matysiak’s cinematography aids that audience journey and is some of the best work I’ve seen this year. It was impressive how Matysiak and Ponciroli were able to bring this era to life. Then, add in Jordan Lehning’s thrilling score for an all-around engaging movie. It didn’t have a dull moment and that’s why I think this one will stand apart this award season.
Tim Blake Nelson plays Henry and, although this is almost his third decade in the business, this is some of his best work to date. Ponciroli’s writing of Henry combined with Nelson’s ability to portray him made the character a memorable one (to say the least). Henry has a past that we know isn’t pretty and we see bits and pieces of it throughout the movie come to life. But when we see the complete arc of Henry come together, it’s so powerful. With that being said, no matter how great the writing can be, an actor needs to bring to life the words and breathe life into them and that’s what Nelson did. There was something in his demeanor early on that made him feel relatable. I could see a man that learned from his past mistakes and was trying to live by the book. But as the story unfolds, who he was in the past comes to light and Nelson carries one of the most badass third acts I’ve seen in ages.
This film slowly builds, leading up to a shootout sequence you won’t soon forget.