Sweet fancy cheekbones, what even is this movie?
First, a literal, factual answer to my rhetorical question: It’s a Western where Mads Mikkelsen is this Danish dude named Jon living in the American West whose wife and young son get killed by the brother of local Generic Western Baddie Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Jon kills the brother. Delarue vows revenge. Generic Western Shit happens. Eva Green plays the widow of the dead brother, who’s been mute since Indians cut out her tongue when she was a child. Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt plays Jon’s brother. Jonathan Pryce pops up as the backbone-less mayor of the small town Delarue’s been terrorizing. There’s a half-baked subplot about oil and a lot of off-screen rape.
Now, what The Salvation really is: It’s a goddamned waste of good actors. Director Kristian Levring, who co-wrote the script with Anders Thomas Jensen (the Oscar-winning In a Better World, The Duchess) seems to be operating on the assumption that you can have Mads Mikkelsen stare at a wall for 90 minutes, and it would be intense enough to carry a movie. Before seeing The Salvation, I’d have agreed with that. But not now. Aside from the first burst of violence that gets Jon into all his trouble, he does nothing until a good hour in, and it is infuriating.