First Cow – 7

A short story of a movie (unlike, say, Kelly Reichardt’s earlier period Western, Meek’s Cutoff), which tries to absorb us into the gentle friendship between a sweet but slow trail cook and a more ambitious Chinese frontier entrepreneur. Their business of selling dolly-cakes could also be read as a metaphor for American capitalism: the drive for profit fuels ingenuity and responds to consumer demand, but the flip side is greed, which leads to bending the rules and corner-cutting (see, e.g., Boeing and the 737, or Volkswagen and the diesel engine). The film was beautifully photographed and no doubt would be far more stunning on a big screen. On TV, the setting was as small as the story.

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