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Western films, from silent to today

Outlaws and Angels (2016)

Outlaws and Angels (2016) posterChad Michael Murray plays Henry, leader of gang of outlaws who rob a bank in Cuchillo, New Mexico, leaving behind a couple of dead bodies.

The marshal immediately places an $8,000 reward on the outlaws’ heads and sics a famed, axe-wielding bounty hunter named Josiah (Luke Wilson) on their trail.

Knowing they’re being followed, Henry decides to take a rough route toward Mexico. Before long, the gang of five is a gang of three and those three — Henry, Little Joe and Charlie — are without horses.

That prompts a stop at the Tildon homestead, where not much is going right these days. George Tildon (Ben Browder) makes his living as a preacher and the neighboring town is stricken with consumption, meaning his pews have been empty for some time.

His wife Ada Tildon believes God will fix everything in time and is given to fits of spouting scripture. Young daughters Florence (Frencesca Eastwood) and Charlotte (Madisen Beaty) are bickering sisters, but this bickering runs deeper than normal.

When Henry takes a liking to Florence, and the 15-year-old returns his affections, George figures she’s doing it to save the family. But a night with Henry unleashes the violence inside Florence as well — violence that outmatches anything the Henry gang is likely to serve up.

Review:

A prostitute walking down the street in the film-opening bank robbery winds up with half her face blown off, a clear sign that this is going to be a bumpy and violent two-hour ride.

And if that’s what you’re looking for, director JT Mollner doesn’t disappoint in his first full-length film, which features a host of characters who seem twisted in one way or another.

The standout performance comes from Francesca Eastwood. Yep, she’s Clint’s daughter. And given a featured role in a Western, she does much better than Scott Eastwood in 2015’s “Diablo.”

Most reviews for this film aren’t very flattering. But you’re likely to remember Florence’s “transformation” far longer than anything in some more highly regarded Westerns. That transformation is celebrated in the excellent film-closing song “Devil’s Girl.”

In fact, this film might be what a Spaghetti Western would look like if made today by someone other than Quentin Tarantino. If you can get past the gore, it certainly won’t bore.

But viewers will be left with one nagging question: Where are the angels?

Francesca Eastwood as Florence Tildon in Outlaws and Angels (2016)

Francesca Eastwood as Florence Tildon in Outlaws and Angels (2016)

Directed by:
JT Mollner

Cast:
Francesca Eastwood … Florence Tildon
Chad Michael Murray … Henry
Luke Wilson … Josiah
Nathan Russell … Charles
Keith Loneker … Little Joe
Teri Polo … Ada Tildon
Ben Browder … George Tildon
Madisen Beaty … Charlotte Tildon
Steven Michael Quezada … Alonzo
Frances Fisher … Esther
Reke Rene … Birtha
Luce Rains .. Augustus
Chloe Catherine Kim … Bessie
Cheyenne Phillips … Cora
Marty Lindsey … Samuel
Chris Ranney … Rainey
Beatrice Hernandez … Peral
Lela Rose Allen … Lulu

Runtime: 120 min.

Chad Michael Murray as Henry in Outlaws and Angels (2016)

Chad Michael Murray as Henry in Outlaws and Angels (2016)

Memorable lines:

Posse member, about trailing the outlaws through rough country: “Boss, maybe we ought to think about this.”
Josiah: “I thought about it. I think you ought to get on your fucking horse and we’ll go get some heads.”

Henry, with Florence on his lap: “You like it up here?”
Florence: “I’d like it better if you didn’t stink so darn bad.”

Florence: “You’re not old.”
Henry: “For a lawbeaker, I’m ancient.”

Henry to George Tildon: “You got two choices, you son of a bitch — humiliation or death.”

Charlie: “Missy?”
Florence: “Yes, Charlie.”
Charlie: “Why’d you bed down (kill) your sis?”
Florence: “She liked it (special ‘rub downs’ with her father).”

Luke Wilson as Josiah in Outlaws and Angels (2016)

Luke Wilson as Josiah in Outlaws and Angels (2016)

Chad Michael Murray as Henry with Francesca Eastwood as Florence in Angels and Outlaws (2016)

Chad Michael Murray as Henry with Francesca Eastwood as Florence in Angels and Outlaws (2016)

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