Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Dark Valley - An Austrian Cowboy Movie, WTF?

Well that's what I thought initially but being the self confessed fan of European cinema (and my missus being a cowboy movie fan) I thought "What the heck, I'll give this a go".

Dark Valley (2014)
Directed by Andreas Prochaska (Dead in 3 Days), "Das Finstere Tal" is set towards the end of the 19th century in a village in the Austrian Alps.  Sam Riley (Maleficent, Byzantium) is Greider, a lone rider, who enters the eponymous valley in search of shelter from the approaching winter.

The villagers are a bedraggled bunch of peasants who are kept firmly at heel by their self appointed leader and protector Brenner (Hans Michael Rehberg) and his six sons.  Nothing happens in the valley without their approval and Brenner makes all the laws, including reviving the barbaric feudal custom of Droit du Seigneur.

Greider tells the Brenner boys that he's a photographer recently returned from America keen to document the valley, so they let him stay.  It's not long before the first of them meets a grisly end and Greider's real motive for entering the valley is revealed... Revenge!

Whilst the acting is convincing enough, the real star of the movie is of course the scenery and the cinematography of Thomas Kienast, ably assisted by Mathhias Weber's cold and haunting soundtrack.  Filmed in Val Senales, Italy during heavy snow, they manage to paint a beautiful yet sinister backdrop against which Greidel and the Brenner family's stories unfold.  It's so chilling it makes the nine walkers trip through Redhorn Pass look a Snow Day. 

Well worth a look if you fancy something a bit different. 

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