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Blu-ray Review: Sweetwater

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sweetwaterWe all go wrong sometimes, but it’s the rare one of us who craves the chance to make it right. Making right what once was wrong, however, can be a difficult task, and sometimes the world looks to derail those who would improve, which is just what will happen in Arc Entertainment’s “Sweetwater,” a copy of which they sent out for review. This one won’t be available until December 31, but this one’s well worth knowing about ahead of schedule.

In this case, “Sweetwater” follows a former lady of the evening who decides to leave her life of sex for pay behind her. She sets out with her husband, eager to make a new life in New Mexico. But when she draws the attention a cult leader who doubles as the local madman, her life will be promptly shattered. With only vengeance left to her, she sets out to wreak havoc and destroy the psychopath who ruined her own ambitions of a new life. She’ll bring with her a sheriff–himself at least somewhat unhinged–not to bring the law down on the madman, but to bring wrath instead.

Hearing that January Jones was going to play our former hooker in this one was noteworthy enough, but when I found that the sheriff was Ed Harris, that sold me. Alan Pangborn from “Needful Things” was going to get a shot of the renegade? And Ed Harris was going to handle it? Now that was a recipe for prime action-thriller on the hoof. The execution, meanwhile, is substantially better.

First, we have a Western here, which is a comparative rarity in the field any more. A great cast who does its job with considerable aplomb coupled on to a story that impresses on several fronts makes this definitely one to watch, whether you’re an action buff, a suspense-thriller type, or a Western fan who’s been feeling a mite ignored by the current rush of titles. Smoothly paced, smoothly plotted, with a goodish dollop of reasonable violence thrown in for those who enjoy the gunplay of a Western. Even the violence is of the smoothest variety; there’s very little wild firing here, a downright economy of violence, which is a bit unusual for a Western, and makes “Sweetwater” very distinctive.

We start with an entry that is in its own right unique, a Western. Then we add to that by presenting a Western that actually doesn’t have a whole lot of gunplay, until the near end–and even then it’s disturbingly close to one shot / one kill–and that makes this one very, very much unlike anything that’s come before it. That’s a commodity we don’t get very often in this neck of the woods, and a very exciting prospect.

Special features here include English subtitles, a making-of featurette, a video for “Cold Grey Light of Dawn,” and trailers for “Bounty Killer,” “The Starving Games,” “Vehicle 19,” and “Sweetwater,” though only “Sweetwater”‘s trailer will be available from the main menu.

“Sweetwater” provides an exciting, suspenseful Western, which makes it a pretty rare bird indeed. A unique plotline done well, with uniqueness in its own right, adds up to an excellent movie, one quite clearly worth the time to watch.

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