Look out, people! This old boy has decided to tell us that he has a few new tricks up his sleeve. Tommy Lee Jones wrote, produced, directed and stars in a new western that is at times dry, sometimes really dry, and at other times, "Hey, that moment was actually pretty awesome."
Hillary Swank plays Mary Bee Cuddy, a single woman who has to take three mentally ill women to a neighboring town that will try and help them. Early on, the movie is a typical quest genre with Swank as its lead and Jones as her sidekick. But when the film introduces the mentally ill women, it does so in a non-linear fashion that disrupts the film's momentum and can easily leave you in confusion.
Jones and Swank have chemistry, but their characters don't connect in a way that makes their relationship or the story resonate. Swank creates a clear portrait of a character while Tommy Lee Jones remains Tommy Lee Jones externally but a mystery internally. This film is obviously meant for the Oscar season, but the film doesn't do enough to make any noise. But if this came out in the 18th century, oh snap! Watch out Titanic!
But the reality is: this movie lacks an engrossing momentum until a big twist takes the story into a new direction. This is a movie that has likable qualities"”solid acting, cinematography, and intriguing scenes"”but we never get a true main character that takes this journey by the boot straps and rides the story into the sunset... just a wandering tale that takes us on a slow boat ride across the river.