The Beauty and Danger of the American West

November 10th, 2020The Beauty and Danger of the American West

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The landscape of the western frontier has been cast as a majestic backdrop for western films throughout the years and director Thomas Bezucha features this beautiful country to set the tone in his slow-burn thriller, LET HIM GO.

As Margaret and George Blackledge (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) set out to bring their grandson home, the landscape of autumn trees and snow-capped mountains of Montana slowly transition to rigid and deserted terrain of the Dakotas. The tone of the environment was intentional, as Bezucha mentioned in our interview, ”I loved this nostalgic look at the west and this family… I reversed the order of the drive, where they live in Montana in this green bucolic setting and travel to this barren, lunar landscape.“

In our interview with the director, he went in more depth about the decision to change the settings from the original novel, written by Larry Watson. Bezucha wanted to portray a sense of innocence with the Blackledge family and the Montana landscape complimented this creative vision.

As for the Weboy clan, the director preferred the rugged and baron terrain of the Dakotas as a visual metaphor for the ruthlessness family. Immediately upon meeting the matriarch, Blanche Weboy, you can feel the bitterness in her voice and you realize how she has effected not only her sons, but the land they live on. Kevin Costner described the Weboy ranch as unwelcoming and even though the viewer may not see it at first, the land is neglected and littered, “we don’t judge things when we’re watching movies… there emotional and we don’t even think about the trash, but we understand.” The setting of the ranch complements the deserted landscape of the Dakotas, together they capture the threat the Weboys represent in this elegant thriller.

The American West is a beautiful and alarming character that stands tall amongst the incredible cast of Diane Lane, Kevin Costner and Lesley Manville in the AMC Artisan Film, LET HIM GO.

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