The Ballad of Lefty Brown

The Ballad of Lefty Brown

The Ballad of Lefty Brown

2017.  Directed by Jared Moshe. 

By Brian Wallinger. 

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After a brief run at South By Southwest and being acquired by the mega power player A24, The Ballad Of Lefty Brown is now available via streaming services. I knew nothing about the film except that it was a western and that Bill Pullman was in it. Having always been an advocate for the genre, I decided to give it a go.  The film is written, as well as directed by Jared Moshe; someone I'm unfamiliar with, though what he has created here is a stellar old fashioned film that is nothing short of a sincerely validated love letter to the forgotten Western.

Bill Pullman gives a strangely attractive performance as Lefty Brown, a dimwitted, cockeyed rustler.  Despite a plethora of personal flaws and struggles, this character can't be anything but lovable, due to Pullman's steady performance, which at times comes off as a Jeff Bridges impersonation.  

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Peter Fonda and Bill Pullman are working together on their ranch when suddenly Fonda is killed by an unknown assailant in the middle of the day. Having felt useless and responsible, Lefty embarks on a quest for revenge that leads to a political conspiracy. There are plenty of shootouts to go around to say the least. 

On his journey, Lefty is accompanied by actor Tommy Flanagan, and new comer Diego Josef. Deigo plays a young, would-be gunslinger that feels more like a super hero sidekick then someone who is able to be taken seriously. Despite that, Josef does well with the material he is given, including a heartfelt scene with Pullman. Jim Caviezel plays the film's villain, giving a very basic performance that is overall forgettable.  Kathy Bates also supports as Fonda's widow.  

David McFarland's cinematography is a highlight, capturing the traditional atmosphere of the West by providing sound color composition in virtually every shot. The music is everything you'd expect to be as well.  Technically, the film flourishes, however there are a few flaws and missed opportunities.  Specifically, Lefty falls into the realm of predictability at almost every turn.

The Ballad Of Lefty Brown is a film that reminds us that sometimes it is necessary to hang up our capes and ride out into the sunset as the outlaws we once were.  Bill Pullman shines as the lead role. That alone makes it all worthwhile

☆☆ 1/2

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