‘The English’ wants to critique the blood-soaked Old West. Instead, it revels in it’
I’m going to sit out the upcoming movie ‘Savage’ until it’s out in theaters, but this morning I had a chat with the director, Sam Mendes, from ‘The English’ about the current ‘Savage’ film and what it says about the state of modern American film.
After several years of being a critic for The Washington Post, I had the idea that it might be interesting to talk to someone from Britain who could take a critical look at America and its film in general.
I thought I might be able to do that by talking to one of the people who was the director on that film, Sam Mendes.
It’s about a guy who has to ride out into California with his gang of gangsters, get a job washing dishes at a restaurant, take on the task of being a spy for the Secret Service, and then go out into the wild with the girls from his hotel.
It’s a movie that takes place in New Mexico and that’s really exciting for people who are familiar with New Mexico. I went up to Albuquerque a few months ago with the wife and she was taken aback by the place, and I said, “My God, what an amazing place.”
The movie tells the story of a man whose life takes a turn in a violent way when he goes out to California and meets some crazy people.
When I sat down and asked what his thoughts were about America, he said it’s very exciting and very interesting.
I said, “And how is that?”
He said, ‘Yeah, it’s great. It is what it is.’
Makes me realize that a lot of us probably like it too. It’s very attractive to be an expat in the States – very attractive to be an expat in the States – but it’s very different here.
I guess in Britain we have our own version of the old Wild West, right down to the movies.
In those Westerns, you can see that the actors can really sell the character on screen.
They know what they’re doing and you can see the actors’ eyes moving around in the character and you can see why they are doing what they are doing.
In that movie, there was a lot of blood and mayhem in it