The movie

First Cow

Kelly Reichardt’s marvellous Western is set in 1820 in Oregon and hinges on the friendship between two outsiders determined to make their way in a ruthless and uncompromising wilderness world.

Length: 122 min
Country: Verenigde Staten
Language spoken: Engels
Language subtitles: Nederlands
Cast: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Release date: 2019

Description

Winner of Best Film at the 2020 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Kelly Reichardt’s marvellous Western is set in 1820 in Oregon and hinges on the friendship between two outsiders determined to make their way in a ruthless and uncompromising wilderness world. Cookie (John Magaro) and King-Lu (Orion Lee) are thrown together by chance but soon form a close friendship. Cookie has a flair for baking, he dreams of opening a bakery in San Francisco and when they learn of the ‘first cow’ in the area, property of the local fort’s pompous ‘Chief Factor’ (Toby Jones), they hatch a plan to steal its milk under cover of night. Soon the biscuits Cookie makes from the milk are selling like, well, hotcakes. Can the duo keep making money and achieve their dreams or will their nightly thievery lead to tragedy?

‘Reichardt gives us a terrifically tough and sinewy tale of the old west, shaped by the brutally implacable market forces of capitalism… She and [regular screenwriting collaborator Jonathan] Raymond tell their story with force and skill and the movie is shot with beautiful simplicity. There’s a muscular authority in its plainness and its calm, unshowy evocation of the American landscape… It is a tremendously engaging story that does something very few movies do: mention specific sums of money, so we realise exactly what risks are being taken. Something very palpable is at stake, the jeopardy is real and it’s a question of survival.’—Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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