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Meek's Cutoff [Blu-ray]

2.4 out of 5 stars 305 customer reviews

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(Sep 13, 2011)
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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 award 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.

Special Features

None.

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: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00579YI1G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,066 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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2 Comments 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I watched this movie a few years back in fascination from beginning to end. Many of the low-rated reviews of this movie are missing its point. Although based on an actual historical incident, this film - in my best interpretation- is neither a Western action adventure nor a documentary- it is an allegory for the human struggle to find meaning in our lives completely based on "arriving at our destination" or "winning" - when really we should be focusing on the journey and our fellow travelers. Blindly following a leader without questioning their means or methods leads to frustration - and potentially- disaster. Placing all focus on destination without consideration of how you get there leads- not 'living in the moment'- isn't living - it is an endless torment.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This is a thoughtful movie that will not appeal to people seeking excitement and thrills, nor will it satisfy people who want everything spelled out for them or who need to have the dilemmas of the characters resolved. The narrative follows the trials of a small group of travelers heading to Oregon along the Oregon trail in the early part of the 19th century, but it is not "about" their trials. Director Kelly Reichardt sits back and watches these pioneers struggle against the trackless wilderness without explaining anything about them or their ultimate fate. What the movie said to me was that we are all simply moving through life without all the information we need and with no guarantees that we will have the outcomes we desire. All we have is our own perceptions about our experiences.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I just could not get into this one and stopped about a third of the way through. I thought about trying it again later to see if it was my mood at the time of the first watching or if this movie was actually as bad as I was seeing. Before watching it again, I scanned through the reviews on Amazon and IMDB (5-star through 1-star) and finally concluded that many reviewers had similar experiences to my first attempt and that a second was a waste of time.
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Format: Amazon Video
I thought this movie was absolutely fascinating. If you ever wonder what it must have been like to WALK across the country, this movie will spark your imagination. As a descendant of American settlers, like many of us are, I wish there were more movies like this. It is not a fast-paced Hollywood blockbuster, but that would completely defeat the purpose if it was. If you have an attention span less than 30 seconds, this movie is not for you.
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