The Salvation is a movie from Denmark that celebrates western films of old. The film stars Mads Mikkelsen(Casino Royale, King Arthur, The Hunt), Eva Green(Casino Royale, Dark Shadows, 300: Rise of an Empire), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan(Watchmen, Losers, The Possession) and was directed by Kristian Levring. The film follows a man, Jon(Mikkelsen), who left his family to move to America. After seven years, he finally has the money to bring is wife and son over to America to live with him. Without giving too much away after this point, a series of unfortunate events happen to make him wanted by Delarue(Morgan) who is a local gang leader. The film follows Jon as we watch him experience joy, heartache, and so much more.
Everything about this film says western. Even the scenes that take place at night were clearly filmed during the day, but made in post to look like nighttime. This trick was used a lot during the black and white days and is noticeable now to the trained eye. With the film being in color, it’s very noticeable. However, director Levring brought this into the style of the film pushing forward an even more stylistic tone with this look. After the film was over, I would’ve bet that Levring was the worlds biggest fan of American western films. There is very little dialogue, but that seems to be no problem as the action and action are handled so well. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a fantastic villain, as we’ve seen him do stellar as an anti-hero in Watchmen. His arrogant and smug attitude are pulled off so well it’s hard to believe he’s acting. Mikkelsen brings his own talent to the table with little to no lines in the film, but with powerful expressions and delivery of the few lines he has. We really feel for Jon and want him to win, and sometimes fear that he will lose. I can honestly say there were times in the movie where I thought “there is no way he can get out of this”.
Eva Green also brought something interesting to the table. Her character was unable to speak due to an incident prior to the film, and therefor has absolutely no lines at all. However, she is able to use her expressions and actions effectively to drive home what she is thinking and how she is feeling at times. She proves why she is being picked more and more recently for action films, and not that the reason is more than just her willingness to do topless scenes. The rest of the supporting characters do what they are there to do, and I have no complaint with the film as far as acting goes.
However, if there was one thing that felt off, it was the ending. Without giving away too much, because I think if you’ve read this much into the review you should plan on seeing the film, it just seemed off. The actions of the characters didn’t seem to fit their motivation throughout the most of the film, especially Jon’s. Of course, you could argue ways that it makes sense and works. For me personally it just seemed to be a little odd, and was the only part that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
That being said, the rest of the film is great. If you’re a fan of westerns, then I can’t recommend this movie enough. If you are a fan of well made films, again I can’t recommend it enough. It truly was a cinematic experience that was clearly crafted out of pure respect to the genre. Hopefully Mikkelson and Morgan will be appearing in more features because they really brought their A game to this one.
I give The Salvation 3 empty coffins out of 4.