Meek’s Cutoff – 6

This was a truly “independent” film, in which none of the usual movie rules applied. For long stretches it was so “real” that it seemed lifeless. Except for Michelle Williams, recognizable even clothed head to foot, no effort was made to explain, or particularly distinguish, any of the characters. The Indian looked like someone from Milwaukee who overstayed his bronzing appointment, and the Wild West guide looked like a TV star who had pasted on a scruffy beard. Great care was taken to show how the oxen were coaxed across the river, but since there seemed no way the covered wagons could make it, that scene was simply omitted. Key plot ponts – such as the meaning of the title – were mumbled unintelligibly. Finally, when the story had been driven to a dramatic climax, we were given an ending – which I won’t give away – that left the entire Edina movie theater laughing in disbelief.

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