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Meek's Cutoff [Blu-ray] (2010)

Michelle Williams , Bruce Greenwood , Kelly Reichardt  |  PG |  Blu-ray
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

List Price: $34.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan
  • Directors: Kelly Reichardt
  • Format: AC-3, Color, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories
  • DVD Release Date: September 13, 2011
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00579YI1G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,469 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Meek's Cutoff, from acclaimed director Kelly Reichardt (Wendy And Lucy, Old Joy), is a stark and poetic drama set in 1845, the earliest days of the treacherous Oregon Trail. A wagon train of three families (including two-time Academy Awardr nominee Michelle Williams) has hired mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a shortcut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst, and their own lack of faith in each other's instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as their natural born enemy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Avant-Garde Western That's Actually Really Good November 20, 2011
This is a really interesting film. I'm glad that I read about it before I watched it so that I would know what to expect. If you do that, you will probably have a more enjoyable experience because you will be expecting it to be weird. While I agree that the film was slow and that the dialogue was difficult to hear (I, too, had to turn on the subtitles to understand what was being said), there are some really cool things about this film that I really liked. This is probably one of the most realistic films I have ever seen in terms of reflecting what life was really like for settlers during the time period depicted. I loved the beauty and sparseness of the scenery and I thought that the long periods of silence actually helped allow the viewer to experience the visual aspect of the film without having to constantly listen to people talk. I liked the conversations in complete darkness, I thought they were a really neat touch that added to the realism. Without the use of electric lights, complete darkness is what the characters would have experienced in real life and I like the way that was brought to the screen. It cut through the artificiality typically present in film by not making special allowances for the film viewers, like having lighting when it would normally be pitch black.

In addition, the justification for the full frame aspect ratio is one of the most creative that I have ever heard. I read somewhere, either in an interview or perhaps in the notes written on the DVD packaging, that Kelly Reichardt purposely did not use a widescreen format because she was trying to replicate for the viewer the vision restrictions imposed on the female characters in the film by the bonnets they had to wear.
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The West was never so sparse... July 8, 2011
Meek's Cutoff is an ambitious film trapped by a budget too low to properly realize it. The film is based on an actual event that took place in 1845, although it bears little semblance to those events.

The plot, here goes;

Seven, count 'em, seven settlers (not including the fetus inside the pregnant lady) in three, count 'em, three wagons cross the forbidding Oregon desert trusting their lives to their incredibly hairy guide Stephan Meek (played by Bruce Greenwood). It's clear from the get-go that Meek has no clue as to where they are at, much less if they are heading in the right direction. But since any decision they make could be just as bad, they decide to keep following Cousin It...I mean, Meek until they run across one, count 'em, one Native American who may know the right way...or not.

On the plus side, the framing of the landscape, the sparse dialogue, and solid acting elevates this effort above the average "indie" fare. Lead by the really fine Michelle Williams (who bears a strong resemblance to Renee Zellweger), the rest of the cast follow admirably, especially the aforementioned Greenwood, Shirley Henderson (best known as "Moaning Myrtle" from the Harry Potter series), and Rod Rondeaux who plays the Native American in such a way that we have absolutely no clue what his intentions, if any, he has.

Indeed, the very subject matter of how people react in this particular type of situation is enough to generate a palatable tension as they press on into the wilderness. There is also a strong attention to the "details" of frontier life. The gathering of wood, the keeping of fires, the attention to the water supply that helps set the proper mood.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars WE'RE NOT LOST. WE'RE JUST TRYING TO FIND OUR WAY October 10, 2011
The movie starts out real slow. We watch the mundane tasks of the pioneers as they load water, wash dishes, grind meal...There is no introduction of characters. In fact they remain fairly plain. We hear and watch much of the important conversation from a distance catching bits and pieces. 3 devout families have hired Steven Meek, a slightly crusty man, to guide them to Oregon. He takes them into a high plains desert where they wander for weeks.

The men suspect Mr. Meek is deliberately attempting to get them lost as Oregon is an area in flux and may go to the English, depending on how many Americans settle there...or not. There is an Indian that pops up from time to time. Steven scares everyone with his Indian stories. Eventually they encounter the Indian and you think the story will pick up, but surprise! It doesn't.

The movie ends abruptly. From Meek's words, the film appears to be some sort of metaphor for life and fate as to what path to follow and who to trust, although for the life of me I can't really figure out what it is. The movie won all kinds of awards and I haven't figured that one out either. It was extremely boring. The dialouge was boring. The drama was boring. The people were boring. After a while, the scenery got boring. The squeak of the wagon wheel drove me crazy. Why anyone would waste their time watching this film is beyond me. It isn't accurate history. It is not art and it is not entertaining.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars hard going, like the journey depicted in the film! November 3, 2011
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I bought this on spec without much research and rather regret the spend. Yes, it is a minimalist view of the hardships of the old west and is probably somewhat like it must have been in those days, not much drama, just plenty of slog and hardship. As a documentary it has some value perhaps but most of us buy a movie to be entertained and a little education thrown in is no bad thing too. This has almost no entertainment value at all. The story line is very flat and almost nothing happens from beginning to end. They start crossing a river and end arriving at a tree where there may be some hope of digging for water. In the meantime they ill-treat a native American and argue a bit. A wagon gets wrecked going down a slope. That's it! There is only modest character development. The aspect ratio of 1.37 is justified as highlighting the miserable life of the women but some wide views of the desolate land would have probably done that better. I doubt I will ever watch it again. Rent if there is nothing else but save your money. Dead dreary is my bottom line
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong Aspect Ratio!!!
I was initially skeptical upon hearing that kelley reichardt's new film was to be a western shot in 4X3. why shoot a western in 4X3? Read more
Published 7 days ago by Bruce G. Oothout
1.0 out of 5 stars Meeks Cutoff
Watching this movie is like having constipation. You keep on thinking something will happen. You want something to happen. You need something to happen. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Andy
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of money
I wish I paid attention to the negative reviews but being one to form my own opinions I decided to give this one a chance. Read more
Published 1 month ago by katzcradul
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Patton
I thought the move was well done, but my sister who watched with me felt ripped-off. I guess it depends on how much credit you are willing to give the actors and director.
Published 1 month ago by Marsha
1.0 out of 5 stars WARNING! This review contains more than spoilers - it reveals ALL THE...
I am now in the second half of my life and I spend a large part of my existence watching movies. That one is amongst the absolutely WORST things I ever saw! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maciej
1.0 out of 5 stars I'm amazed that so many people even watched it
I admire the actors that signed up to play a part like this. But even in a historical context this movie in every way will leave you disappointed. They didn't even get that right. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Echolocation
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ontology of Early Wester Migration
Reichardt is a philosopher, not unlike her predecessor Terrence Malick. She takes into the landscape with Western protagonists, their Manifest Destiny, their religion and their... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sheldon
1.0 out of 5 stars Please - don't waste your time!!!
That was the worst thing I've seen in years. I can't imagine paying for this, thank god I didn't pay for it.
Published 4 months ago by Larkin Bray
2.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs Down--Very Disappointing
I watched this movie only because I lived in the area it was filmed and in which the events took place so was curious. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lynn A. Sirrine
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark and Gripping with Suspense and Tension Throughout
Meek's Cutoff is a Western movie but in no way should it be considered a normal Western of the old time Saturday Morning fare. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Carl Robinson
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