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Meek's Cutoff [Blu-ray]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan
  • Directors: Kelly Reichardt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, 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 (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00579YI1G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,505 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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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

It is true that the group met a lone Indian, a member of the Warm Springs tribe.
Artist & Author
Given that the entire movie is about what will happen to the characters in the end, having no ending pretty much means that watching this movie is pointless.
Blue
I did not connect with the historical reality that this film was trying to duplicate.
White Raven

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Winney on November 20, 2011
Format: DVD
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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33 of 44 people found the following review helpful By McGillicutty on July 8, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
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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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Chandler on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Oleson TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 26, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Kelly Reichardt's slow moving film direction has been compared to numerous directors as is usually the case for our newer auteurs. For me this has the feel of a History Channel documentary with some help from Terrence Malick. The opening sequence goes on silently for 15 or 20 minutes or so which I have no problem with given the setting. But the film lacks a purpose other than to see the hardship of frontier life. The plot is simple and straight forward. Three families hire a guide named Meek (an unrecognizable Bruce Greenwood) to cross the Cascades and deliver them to 1845 Oregon.

Meek says he knows a shortcut. They get lost but encounter a lone Indian in the high desert. Why is he alone? We never find out. In any case they capture him with plans to execute him for being...an Indian. One couple believes he could lead them to water which they desperately need. Most of the film takes the form of a conflict of moral principals with the Tetherow's on one side and Meek on the other. The other two family's switch sides depending on the better argument. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen. Will the Indian prevail? Does he have compatriots in the hills? Will he lead them to water? Will Meek kill him? Will the Teherows kill Meek? Will Emily Tetherow (Michelle Williams) end up with the Indian? Alas, the PG stamp keeps it all in check. "Meek's Cutoff" in an interesting premise without much substance.
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