First cow

First cow
Running time:121 minutes
Director:Kelly Reichardt
Release date:09 july 2021

Mulder's Review

Preceded by an excellent reputation and screened in official competition at the Deauville American Film Festival, Kelly Reichardt's First Cow seems to want to revisit the western genre but with a different and bitterer look by highlighting the bad tendencies of human nature.

For her new film after River of Grass (1994), Old joy (2006), Wendy and Lucy (2008), Meek's Cutof (2010), Night moves (2013), Certain women (2016), First cow is intended to be a cinematic experience even if it means leaving behind a certain number of spectators (we didn't count the large number of spectators who left the theater or were drowsy). Yet by setting the story in the middle of 19th century Oregon and telling the story of the strong friendship between two men, the film takes a rather accurate look at belonging to a social class and a way of living decently in a hostile environment even if it means stealing milk from a cow to sell cakes in the market square. In the same way, when at the beginning of the film, a woman discovers two skeletons with her dog, we understand that we are dealing with a deep human drama and will learn what happened to these two men.

Still, we would have liked a much more captivating scenario and a shorter pace to appreciate this story to its true value. Certainly, the quality interpretation of John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones gives the film a real aura but we think that a short film would have been a better choice and especially that this film would have had more place in a VOD release as was the case in the United States than in a movie theater. We may have noticed Kelly Reichardt's vigorous work and appreciate his previous films, but this one disappoints us so much that we wonder if we were not going to leave the theater or do as some other spectators do and fall asleep completely. From there to give a jury prize to such a film it seems completely surreal, especially since Sound of Silence would have been by far a better choice.

First Cow
Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Produced by Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani
Screenplay by Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond
Based on The Half Life by Jonathan Raymond
Starring John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Scott Shephard, Gary Farmer, Lily Gladstone
Music by William Tyler
Cinematography: Christopher Blauvelt
Edited by Kelly Reichardt
Production companies: FilmScience, IAC Films
Distributed by A24
Release date: August 30, 2019 (Telluride), March 6, 2020 (United States)
Running time: 121mns

Seen on September 7, 2020 at the Centre International de Deauville

Mulder's Mark: