By Liz Lopez
Filmmaker Ti West, known for his work in genre films, “The ABCs of Death,” “V/H/S/,” “The House of the Devil,” “The Innkeepers” and “The Sacrament,” took a turn towards writing, directing, editing and executive producing the feature film, “In A Valley of Violence.” The World Premiere was held at the SXSW Film Festival in the Headliners category and screened to a packed house of West fans and critics. The entertaining performances from Ethan Hawke as Paul and John Travolta as the small town marshal really make the script standout. Another admirable performance is by Taissa Farmiga who stars as Mary Anne, a lonely 16-year-old running the local hotel. She does not stop talking and falls completely for Paul, and is willing to do whatever to escape her world to join his. The film covers the basics of a Western with violence, gunslingers, a gang of roughnecks, scenes of one – horse dusty towns and lonely women. Despite the bloodshed, there is some unexpected humor written in that takes it up a notch.
Paul is a loner headed to Mexico on his horse and his collie dog, Abbie (Jumpy). On his way there, he has through a tiny town that is not welcoming at all. The first stop is at the saloon, and a man named Gilly (James Ransone) is looking for a fight and Paul punches him out. Unfortunately for all the cockiness that Gilly displays, he is still a little boy who runs to papa, the town marshal (Travolta). Paul complies with leaving town, but Gilly does not leave well enough alone because of his pride. What they do after that brings a holy hell to the residents of this unwelcoming place.
Eric Robbins’ cinematography captures the landscape of Santa Fe, New Mexico where the film was shot, with production designer, Jade Healy and art director, RA Arrancio-Parrain. Composer Jeff Grace wrote the score.
The film’s supporting cast includes Toby Huss (“Halt and Catch Fire”), Burn Gorman (“The Dark Night Rises,” “Pacific Rim”) and genre darling Larry Fessenden (“You’re Next,” “I Sell The Dead”), Karen Gillan, Tommy Nohilly, and Michael Davis.
The 104 minute film is rated R for violence and language. Austin is hosting a theatrical release of West’s film at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar starting October 21st.
Source: Focus World