OUTLAWS AND ANGELS | REVIEW
The second of the lost reviews has been revealed. Here is Kernel Jordan’s review of OUTLAWS AND ANGELS. A review he submitted month’s ago but I somehow archived in the complete section of reviews. Apologies to Eagle Entertainment for not posting sooner, although after reading about the movie I am uncertain this review will be needed to help it in anyway. Personally I would watch this film purely for Chad Michael Murray, I am not ashamed, still hold a massive crush from ONE TREE HILL days.
OUTLAWS AND ANGELS has been decimated in the media for it’s brutality that seems more a poor homage to Tarantino, the thing is Tarantino has skills. Raping a 15yr old, man on man rape, finger raping and so on does not a good movie make unless it is necessary to a good story and outcome. Putting it in for the sake of brutality porn is just worn!
OUTLAWS AND ANGELS is out now on DVD and digital channels in Australia from Eagle Entertainment. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 120mins. Perhaps give this one a miss………enjoy Jordan’s review……JK.
BY JORDAN DODD
It is great to see an increasing number of Western films in the modern era of film. OUTLAWS AND ANGELS has received some comparisons to THE HATEFUL EIGHT, which is fair in that both are chamber pieces for the most part, though the quality of the script here has nothing on Tarantino’s latest. In fact, the script here is a constant source of frustration; almost half the lines are either poorly written or entirely pointless. Even the title of the film is odd; there don’t seem to be any angels in the movie.
OUTLAWS AND ANGELS SYNOPSIS:
OUTLAWS AND ANGELS starts with blood, as a botched bank-robbery turns violent. As the masked men exit the bank and jump on their horses, the film tries to pull some influence from classic spaghetti westerns as it highlights each man, the frame freezing for a second as the background turns to red. This seems rather pointless though, as the men are wearing masks, so each one of these cinematic flourishes looks exactly the same. After the thieves have ridden away, it is revealed that the man killed was a U.S. Marshall from another county, putting an incredibly large bounty on the heads of the bank-thieves.
The gang immediately decide to flee for the border to the south; not an easy task when unprepared. They obviously weren’t planning on killing anyone, especially a Marshall. This forces them to put as much distance between them and the town as possible. They know bounty hunters will be after the prize on their heads.
MANY WASTED SCENES:
They soon become desperate, as they run out of water for their horses, forcing them to walk, and without any water or food, the group soon become weary and desperate. They soon (extremely conveniently it must be said) stumble upon a frontier house, and instantly make a beeline for it as their bellies rumble.
This first half of OUTLAWS AND ANGELS certainly drags – everything juicy occurs in the frontier house, yet it takes the outlaws almost an hour to get there. Additionally, after the brief, violent opening, nothing much of interest takes place in that opening hour, apart from a few scenes that pave the way for what is to come.
There are also many wasted scenes (combined with some insonsequential narration) on the two bounty-hunters trying to hunt down these men. This movie could have worked just as well, if not better, with these men in the picture without such a large amount of screen-time. They are only there to move the story ahead; a reason for the outlaws to be in a hurry to get what they need from the frontier house and to get out.
Once we finally reach the frontier house, we meet the extremely religious Tildon family, who all have varying reactions to the intrusion. What becomes clear though is that there is something not quite right with this family. Ignoring the insane wife (awfully over-acted by Teri Polo, honestly her wailing is cringeworthy given her experience. I must conclude that this was a director’s decision), as soon as the father makes it clear that his teenage daughters give him ‘rub-downs’, as is the ‘frontier way’, it is immediately clear that something isn’t quite right.
TOO MUCH GRATUITOUS VIOLENCE AND RAPE:
The leader of the gang, Henry, seems to sense this and asks for a rub-down himself. He is surprised to find out that this rub-down is far from what he expected, and this kicks a very predictable final act into gear, needlessly filled with blood and sex. Not that I mind those two topics, but here it feels incredibly forced.
Especially the sexual encounters. They are very…. rapey, and the classical sounding pianos in the background make for hard viewing. Other elements of the sountrack work well, but these scenes with pianos in the background couldn’t seem more wrong.
Chad Michael Murray turns in a great performance as the leader of the gang, and his character is quite the interesting fellow for an outlaw; very cool and calm, but his few outbursts are memorable. Francesca Eastwood (yes, those Eastwoods) turns in a decent performance as Flo, the younger of the two Tildon daughters, though she does overact at times.
The rest of the cast are rather average, but they are all given extremely thin characters to work with. Apart from the leader Henry, who we get to know, the outlaws are a very stereotypical duo of a dirty psychotic and the fat dumb bloke who doesn’t realise when he is being made fun of.
It is hard to grasp what JT Mollner is trying to say with OUTLAWS AND ANGELS. He clearly is trying to take inspiration from classic spaghetti westerns, but he fails miserably in almost every regard. The script sounds like it was penned by a first year film student, while the excessive use of zoom for facial close-ups comes across as a child who has just found the zoom button on his camera for the first time. Worse still is these close-ups don’t seem to say anything of significance. It also must be reiterated that the amount of blood here is truly absurd and would make Gibson and Tarantino proud. Which is apt, as this attempt at a western is a bloody mess.
Jordan Dodd is an aspiring novelist hailing from Adelaide, Australia. His first book is a chronicle of his experiences in a rehab centre that was more of a cult than anything else, and his goal is to finish it and pitch it to someone who matters. It can be found here. He also enjoys writing about film, which is probably his biggest obsession (apart from writing). When not writing for Salty Popcorn Jordan has his own website – he can be contacted via www.epilepticmoondancer.net