Pssst, want to check out First Cow in our new look?
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One of the best directors working today
You'd expect a frontier wilderness movie like First Cow to use the widest screen ratio possible, but no, the wet, dingy Oregonian woods of the film are shot in so-called full screen, implying the characters are in some way trapped, and only hoping to bust out and live the American Dream. And full warning, this is one of those low contrast movies that will look murky on any given screen. The movie begins with a present-day mystery then sends us back to the forging of an unlikely, but easy friendship between a white would-be baker and a Chinese would-be entrepreneur. Unfortunately, their business plan involves a cow that doesn't belong to them, and therefore some tension amid the slow and simple lyricism (I can totally see this being the work of the same director as Meek's Cutoff). Pleasant and melancholy, even touching (and that cow sure is a looker), but it's the ending that got me. There are few moments that just suck the air out of the room, and this was one of them - I'll say no more. As an aside, this features one of René Auberjonois's last roles, and it's enigmatically small; I almost missed it.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #1 in Cahiers du Cinéma's Annual Top 10 Lists
This movie ranks #126 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films