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Director Michael Winterbottom proves to have an enormous eye emerging in bold style at once stylized and natural. He brings us here images that, once seen, burn, linger and haunt forever be it a Victorian mansion hauled across the frozen plains or a horse's immolation as on fire it gallops across the screen.
Winterbottom's cast is a strong one - none remaining as they initially seem, each changing before our eyes. Kinski, first strong and bitter gives one of her most tender heartbreaking performances, Wes Bentley, likeable and promising becomes petty and meddlesome. Milla Jovovich serves up, predictably, hearty and hot, yet more delicate than she would like to appear.
In all of this Peter Mullan's Daniel Dillon is the focus and the fulcrum by which the story hinges. He is never less than masterful. To see him early on nearly ravaged by youthful greed then watch him in age yearn for salvation that may never come or come too late, one cannot help but be riveted by his endeavor to make up by his plight and his attempt to change it.
The Claim is a remarkable film which, while it may take a bit of time to warm up to, burns its own unique reward in a way few modern Hollywood films can.
Daniel Dillon arrives in the wilds of Northern California during the gold rush with his wife and infant daughter in hopes of making a fortune in the gold fields. They arrive at a claim shack, cold, hungry, and out of hope and are taken in by the claimer, and in short order, Dillon unsentimentally sells his family to the lonely miner for the claim. The wife, Elena, aware that she has little say, goes with her new master, but does not close the door on Dillon.
Years later, we find that Dillon has made a go of things with his claim; he has built a town called Kingdom Come, wrested out of the mountains virtually by himself, a rough-and-ready place without amenities beyond the ubiquitous saloon and whorehouse to supply the miners. A survey crew appears; negotiations are begun to possibly bring the newly-constructed railroad through Kingdom Come and establish Dillon as the baron he envisions himself to be. The survey crew brings with it, however, a nasty shock for him; his erstwhile wife and now-grown daughter - who is unaware that Dillon is her father. Elena - the wife - is dying; she has come back to make some sort of arrangement with Dillon, as the man she was sold to has died and left her destitute, and she wants to provide for her daughter, the unlikely-named Hope. Dillon, on seeing her, realizes suddenly that his ambitions have left him hollow; his closest association is the madam of the town bordello, who loves him, but who he has no intention of marrying.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful scenery, different kind of story, it's a sleeper. I'm glad I happened upon this movie and highly recommend it.Published 10 days ago by T. Bailey
A literate yet interesting film. The period (the gold rush days in California) is accurately presented. Michael Winterbottom directed and it's probably his best movie. Read morePublished 3 months ago by anonymous
Saw this in theaters when it first came out, what a surprising film. Jovovich did surprising well in this film. Highly recommend it for any fan of the Western genre.Published 5 months ago by P. Jarvi
I found this movie a little confushing and hard to keep up with.Published 9 months ago by Ronald Parks
Impressive movie of the struggles and triumphs along the way to building our nation. Not only the country being developed, but the hardships of the brave pioneers who laid down all... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jenilyn
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