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Western films, from silent to today

The Last Rites of Ransom Pride (2010)

When Ransom Pride is killed in a gun-deal gone bad, his lover/whore Juliette Flowers sets out to fulfill a promise that he be buried beside his mother in Glory, Texas. There’s just one little problem. In the gun battle in which he died, Ransom shot and killed a priest. Now his body and oul has been claimed by the sister of the priest, a combination madam/witch with a disfigured face. “The body of Ransom Pride will be fed to the devil’s black vultures,” she says. “For there must be atonement.” But Juliette has an offer: She’ll trade Ransom’s live brother for her lover’s body.

And so she rides off to Glory to fetch that brother, Champ. Convincing him to leave with her to retrieve the body isn’t a problem. Champ admires Ransom. Besides, he lives with his father, a half-mad preacher whose wife died when Champ was born. Getting back to Mexico might prove more difficult. He might resent his second son, but Rev. Early Pride sure as hell doesn’t want to lose a second good to that no-good whore Juliette. So he calls in a favor from an old Confederate army buddy named Shepherd Graves, then later joins the search for Champ himself.

But Champ and Juliette find allies, too. A dwarf who runs a circus. Siamese twins who perform in that circus. And a philosopher/soldier who’s wise enough to know everyone would live their life differently, given a second chance.

Review:

At a time when most Westerns released are low-budget, straight-to-DVD crap, this scores high marks for acting, originality, script and action. Everything is just a little odd, from the characters to their costumes to the immediate black and white, slow-motion flashbacks. And nearly everything works.

Lizzy Caplan makes a captivating heroine; handsome Jon Foster learns quickly under her tutelage. But the supporting roles also help bring this to life, including W. Earl Brown of “Deadwood” fame and Jason Priestly — yes, the kid from “90210.” Go ahead and see if you can pick his character out in this cast of misfits.

And Dwight Yoakum delivers a deliciously believable performance as the tortured preacher/dad of the Pride kids. A salute to everyone involved in this bizarre little film.

And, yep, that’s Peter Dinklage of “Games of Thrones” fame in the role of the dwarf.

Directed by:
Tiller Russell

Cast:
Lizzy Caplan … Juliette Flowers
Jon Foster … Champ Pride
Dwight Yoakam … Rev. Early Pride
Cote de Pablo … Bruja
Jason Priestly … John
W. Earl Brown … Matthew
Peter Dinklage … Dwarf
Scott Speedman … Ransom Pride
Kris Kristofferson … Shepherd Graves

Runtime: 83 min.

Memorable lines:

Juliette Flowers: “The last thing Ransom Pride said to me is, ‘I was always a lover, despite the killings'”

Rev. Early Pride: “I don’t need God’s help for this, Graves. I need a son of a bitch.”

Juliette Flowers: “Which one of you sorry mother f—ers wants breakfast in hell first?”

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