Meek's Cutoff - SideReel Review

There is a scene in Entourage (yea I used to watch it, so did you so don't lie to yourself) where Billy Walsh states "I don’t make movies, I make films." Although that sounds pretentious and awful, there is a distinction between movies and films. Movies are entertaining and sometimes are mindless. Films, on the other hand, stand the test of time. Films have depth, originality and occasionally are not that entertaining. Meek's Cutoff is clearly a film, and not that entertaining. It is slow, with minimal dialogue, and very little action, but yet it is one of the best films of the year. If you complain about ‘Hollywood’ type films then you should watch Meek’s Cutoff. There is nothing 'Hollywood' about this movie.

Set in 1845, the film revolves around three families and their quest to reach the west via the Oregon Trail. The three families and their guide ‘Stephen Meek’ encounter several problems such as lack of water, and hostile territories as they try to survive in a seemingly hopeless trek.  It is a creative, naturalist and a minimalist film that will probably normalize your thinking of the ‘Wild West’ (UPDATE: Wild Wild West with Will Smith was NOT a documentary).

 Frankly, it was a bit painful to watch Meek’s Cutoff. It was crucially agonizing at times, which I appreciate on an intellectual level (The Oregon Trail was a sluggish journey so is the film etc), but not on an entertainment level. The cinematography, however, was exceedingly beautiful and interesting and is worth the admission price. The acting is rich, and its direction is on a level that would impress the best filmmakers of our time (Billy Walsh included). Although other movies will be a bit more ‘exciting,’ this film will stay in your cognizance as you will appreciate the craft of Kelly Reichardt (Director).


-Eliseo Cabrera

Meek's Cutoff Trailer


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