A Damn Fine Western for Seven Winter’s Nights
GODLESS, Netflix new mini-series horse opera, does a lot of things right.
And it should, considering all it borrows from Western mythology starting with the gold standards of such things: HBO’s late, great series Deadwood and the original Sixties movie classic The Magnificent Seven.
Along GODLESS’s seven-episode trail stir in liberal doses of Once Upon A Time In the West, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, High Pains Drifter, The Alamo, and even a dash of the Beach Boys hit tune California Girls and there are ingredients aplenty to bake a damn fine cowboy (and cowgirl) cake.
With all the dreck being produced in Hollywood these days you could do worse than spend seven winter’s nights enjoying this telegraphed but still surprisingly good show.
(Unless of course you are like me and greedily gobble up the whole enchilada in the course of 36 or there abouts vidioticly zombified hours.)
Don’t be put off by the pussy-hatted premise: the territorial mining town of La Belle loses almost all of it’s male population in a horrific accident and the women need to man-up and soldier on.
In truth it’s a tale of revenge, retribution, redemption and unrequited romance.
Jeff Daniels positively chews the scenery as bad man Frank Griffith, el jefe of a roving band of outlaws (think Eli Wallach’s Calvera in The Magnificent Seven served with a large ladleful of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian sensibility.)
Same goes for Michelle Dockery, who gleefully sheds her prim Downtown Abby persona with a tight-rope walk performance of restrained, intense bad-assery of her own.
Also a hoot is supporting actor Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy) who’s smarmy rent-a-cop character cries out for the Al Swearginton treatment.
There is a bare minimum heavy-handed SJW preachery (a miracle!) and even then there are some sweet twists involved.
All in all, GODLESS, while not great, is pretty darn good, with engaging characters your won’t mind spending time with, a solid musical score and outright gorgeous cinematography shot almost exclusively on location in northern New Mexico.
Given all the crap out there you could do a lot, lot worse.