Seraphim Falls (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/08/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Enjoyable, frequently tense and superbly directed chase thriller with strong performances and spectacular photography throughout.

What's it all about?
Set shortly after the end of the American Civil War, Seraphim Falls stars Pierce Brosnan as Gideon, a splendidly moustachioed fugitive, who's being pursued by the revenge-obsessed Colonel Carver (Liam Neeson) and a gun-toting posse. As the chase moves from the snow-covered mountains to the rocky prairies and salt flats, occasional flashbacks fill us in on the events in Seraphim Falls that fuelled Carver's revenge quest.

The Good
Brosnan and Neeson make superb adversaries and their final confrontation is extremely tense. Brosnan, in particular, is terrific as Gideon, whether he's performing impromptu bullet-removal surgery on himself (tools: fire, knife, alcohol, snow), setting inventively deadly booby traps or deftly extricating himself from the latest of a series of sticky situations.

Director David Von Ancken orchestrates some splendidly suspenseful sequences and a number of exciting action scenes, such as the thrilling, bullet-dodging opening that includes that classic action movie standby, the waterfall jump. It's also beautifully shot by cinematographer John Toll, who uses the spectacular scenery to great effect, particularly during the entertainingly surreal finale.

The Great
The film also features a terrific supporting cast that includes memorable cameos from the likes of Wes Studi (mysterious Indian in the middle of nowhere), Angie Harmon (as Carver's wife), Xander Berkley and Anjelica Huston, alongside seasoned character actors such as Michael Wincott and Ed Lauter as members of Carver's ill-fated posse. In addition, the script is excellent, expertly illustrating the moral complexity of Carver's need for revenge and ensuring that our sympathies lie with both men.

Worth seeing?
In short, Seraphim Falls is an intelligent western that works as a superbly directed chase movie and also as a provocative study of the nature of guilt and vengeance. It also features some outstanding facial hair. Recommended.

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Content updated: 18/12/2017 11:00

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