Old Way, The : Movie Review

Title: The Old Way

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Noah Le Gros, Nick Searcy

Directed by: Brett Donowho

Written: by Carl W. Lucas

Running: time 95 minutes

THE OLD WAY is released in cinemas and available on Altitude.film and other digital platforms from 13 January.

Colton Briggs is a retired gunslinger. The local Marshall knows that he was one of the baddest, most violent six shooters in the West. Briggs' wife is murdered by a posse of outlaws led by the son of a man Briggs murdered 20 years ago. The local law enforcers are no match for these bad guys, which leaves Briggs the only person capable of bringing his wife's killers to justice. But is it really justice, or vengeance? Lines and allegiances blur in this compelling Western.

Old Way DVD
Nicolas Cage is my favourite actor. I've watched all of his films. But until now he has never starred in a Western. This is surprising as this thespian who has always enjoyed a variety of roles has also always had a love of The West. He admits to enjoying the culture of cowboys and even dresses that way. So why has it taken his so long to take up the reins and become the cowboy he always wanted to play? This can probably be answered by the simple fact that Westerns simply aren't so popular with audiences or studios as they were back in the 60s and 70s, as Cage began his career in the early 80s but missed this boom time for Westerns. Cage produces a really decent performance. He is convincing as a cold-blooded gunslinger. Off the back of films such as Mandy, Pig and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Cage is now apparently once again able to pick and choose his projects from the film studios.

Brett Donowho’s direction is solid. The pacing is good and the cinematography is very impressive, capturing the feel of the Old West expertly. The supporting cast all produce good performances although Cage Ryan Kiera Armstrong with the most screentime easily stands out above the rest.

The script is decent, if well-worn, and feels appropriate to the time and the situations in which it places its characters, but ultimately, I wonder if it actually says, or asks, anything new. It's a shame that the script didn't push a little more into unknown, or previously unexplored places. Both Colton and his daughter Brooke show signs of neurodivergence - both seem to have emotional problems and there is also a scene where Brooke sorts jellybeans into jars by colour. It also appears that she can recall conversations word for word - is she autistic? She certainly appears to be, but we never really find out. It would have been interesting to delve into this further. That said the onscreen chemistry between Cage and Armstrong lifts the film and is worth the ticket price alone.

Cage is the master of genres having racked up at least one film in pretty much very genre that you can imagine. He is remains one of the hardest working actors in (and outside) of Hollywood appearing in both big budget studio fare as well as small indie movies. I can think of no other actor who has been an A lister for over 40 years. His career (although he prefers to think of it simply as a body of work) has been long and busy. He rarely takes anything other than lead roles, so generally appears in virtually every scene of his movies, usually at the standout lead star.

His next release is Renfield which despite what I have just said, sees him onscreen for considerably less time than usual. However, as it is directed by Chris McKay and stars Nicolas Hoult as Renfield, I have no doubt it will be a big hit.

You'll have to wait until April for that one. In the meantime, put on a Stetson, holster your six-shooter, and saddle up for The Old Way.

THE OLD WAY is released in cinemas and available on Altitude.film and other digital platforms from 13 January.

Author : Kevin Stanley