2019 Film Reviews - 28: Western [dir. Valeska Grisebach; 2017]

This quiet, unassuming tale of a manual labourer from Germany feeling increasingly at home while working in a sleepy Bulgarian village comes with much critical acclaim, chiefly for its examination of masculinity and conflict. And while there’s no doubt that it features many admirable accomplishments - not least Meinhard Neumann's understated central performance and the well-observed presentation of his graduation alienation from his compatriots - there is also a sense that this is arthouse-by-numbers. From long takes to determinedly non-professional acting, the stock tropes are all in evidence, sadly without any idiosyncratic quirks or surprises that might have lifted the whole and served to male it more memorable.



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