John Cusack Terrifies in Dark Western Thriller
Never Grow Old is a dark and heartbreaking western of Irish author-director Ivan Kavanagh. A trio of disgusting outlaws seizes a dark border town. Their lawless and impious ways clash with the fire and sulfur preaching of a temperance movement. Never Old Old is a ruthless look at human nature. The rain and mud soaked with frame corresponding to the ugliness of the place. The film is absolutely fascinating. John Cusack achieves his best performance in years as a terrifying and deadly villain.
The film begins in the border town of Garlow. We are in 1849. Emile Hirsch is played by Patrick Tate, an Irish funeral and carpentry entrepreneur who makes every effort to make ends meet. He has a beautiful pregnant wife, Audrey (Deborah François), and two young children. The family is happy, even under the strict religious rule of the city preacher (Danny Webb); who banned alcohol and prostitution.
A stormy night brings three dangerous men to Patrick's door. Dutch Albert (John Cusack) and his vicious gang are looking for a former partner. Dutch wants a drink. He wants to learn that the city has no salon nor women to hire. Dutch buys the local hotel and turns it into a brothel. Patrick is soon overwhelmed by cases burying corpses. But as his chest grows, the desperation of the city challenges Patrick's resolve. Dum-Dum (Sam Louwyck), his mute interlocutor and without language, worries more and more Audrey's attention.
Ivan Kavanagh is fascinated by this astonishing story of morality. Emile Hirsch in the role of Patrick and his immigrant family was struggling to be accepted by the Christians who beat the bible of the city. Their favor was hard but peaceful. When Dutch begins to reign, he gives Garlow's men the carnal sins they crave. He has no beliefs or respect for religion. The Dutch emasculate Patrick without fear of recourse. Bury the dead, take your money and watch this pretty woman. The relationship between the two men is skillfully elaborated. The border between good and evil is clear. Each man must make his choice to cross it.
John Cusack is almost unrecognizable. His calm attitude and sinister dialogue make Dutch Albert a spectacular threat. He is not the twirling mustache, the wicker wearing the black western archetype. Long, slender hair and Cusack's perpetually moist face amplify his evil face. I like that Kavanagh has never seen Albert Albert raise his voice. You stick to each of his words, as if it's the last one you'll ever hear. The victims of Dutch Albert are cold-eyed before they are finished. John Cusack has not been as good for as long as I can remember.
Garlow himself contributes to creating a dreary mood. The city is covered with mud and dirt. Old wooden buildings and muted colors amplify fear. The Dutch Albert savor the "sh * thole". The lugubrious city does not pause in its criminal activities. Ivan Kavanagh does an excellent job of combining his script with the environment.
Never Grow Old is a welcome respite from the terrible westerns that I have seen recently. The film is dark as hell, but it is a must for fans of the genre. I like a discreet antagonist. Ivan Kavanagh breathes new life into John Cusack. It reminds us of the formidable talent of the actor. Never Old Old is an Irish production of Ripple World Pictures. It will be distributed in North America by Saban Films.