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Butcher's Crossing       review by Bobby Blakey

Nic Cage has been on another upswing as of late with some great films including Willy’ Wonderland, PIG, Renfield and the hit film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Now he is teaming up with director Gabe Polsky for his latest film Butcher’s Crossing co-starring Fred Hechinger, Xander Berkeley, Rachel Keller, with Jeremy Bobb and Paul Raci. Could this be yet another great addition to Cage’s current resume or will it fail to survive the hunt?


Butcher’s Crossing follows Will Andrews who has left Harvard to find adventure where he teams up with Miller, a mysterious frontiersman offering an unprecedented number of buffalo pelts in a secluded valley. Their crew must survive an arduous journey where the harsh elements will test everyone's resolve, leaving their sanity on the knife’s edge.


I am an unashamed fan of Cage and will watch anything he does. I know there was a period that didn’t always deliver but over the last few years I have loved most of what he has put out. I was excited to see him in this film as well taking him into a period piece of the west and how he would fit in. This isn’t your typical western and more about dealing with obsession, greed and the harsh realities of the land and it works.


The film is focused on Will Andrews played by Hechinger and his journey of discovery of himself and the world he knows nothing about. He is simple and knows nothing of what he is getting himself into. It offers up a simple starting point that gets you to know Andrews and his background without bogging things down with useless elements. When he meets up with Miller, played by Cage you already know it won’t end well.


Cage is once again fantastic here and his first outing that I can remember being completely bald. HE looks rugged and great with this look that not only works for him in general but adds that extra element of his character needed to make him stand out from Cage’s past work. The film is slow at times and sometimes feels like it has no real point but finds its way back on the trail more often than not. He has multiple personas that he works through and brings yet another multi-layered performance that once again reminds us how good Cage can be with the right script.


The sweeping landscapes and dangerous terrain become a character all its own fighting against their success in every way. As the weather changes so do the dangers and the people’s own sanity. The often no so pleasant look of the skinning and butchering of the bison is not fun to watch, but I think a necessary evil to capture the history and the story they are telling.


They set things up in a way that was clearly meant to make you think it is going one direction before it turns it on its head in a whole new direction. This journey tests the limits and lives of everyone involved. There is an element of sadness to what they are doing and how they it is shot, but it is by design as the whole film is really shining a light onto the extermination and rebuilding of the bison population. It even wraps things up with some interesting yet infuriating facts of the time and business that it is focused on.


Decide for yourself and step into the old west and grab your copy of Butcher’s Crossing available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.

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