Slow West, the directorial debut of John Maclean, is a western/arthouse film starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn. It tells the story of a young Scottish nobleman who, in pursuit of his love Rose, finds himself in the cruel and beautiful world of the American West.
Early on in the story, our young hero Jay Cavendish teams up with a bounty hunter named Silas (played by Michael Fassbender). The difference between Jay and Silas is that Jay knows how to live, whereas Silas knows how to survive, and in a strange sense the two complete each other. Silas is a tough bounty hunter, but Jay’s naivety seems to bring out a sense of paternal love in him – although we soon find out that paternal love is not the only reason Silas decides to escort Jay to his love.
Rose and her father are in fact wanted fugitives; there is a bounty on their head, and Jay is the only person in the West who is oblivious to this. He is being followed by a group of bounty hunters who are also looking for Rose, for less romantic reasons. However despite this, you cannot feel much animosity towards these bounty hunters. As much as you probably won’t be too bothered if Jay never gets to Rose, that does not mean the storyline is not gripping. Just like the beautiful landscape that Slow West is shot in, you accept Jay, Silas, the bounty hunters and all the other random characters Jay gets to meet during his journey, as part of life in the West, for better or worse.