Like many films that we have seen this year, Magnificent Seven is a re-imagining or re-telling of an earlier story. Unlike many films this year, it is actually incredibly riveting and refreshing. One thing that this film really has going for it is the fact that there is no other movie like it at the moment. I was honestly surprised a little by the fact that this Western was so enjoyable in 2016!
Magnificent Seven tells the story of seven men who come together in the old west to help a small town who is under siege by a greedy, deranged businessman. These seven men are hardly angels; they are mercenaries, outcasts, and killers. However, their sense of bravery and morality outweighs their status as criminals and they end up doing a lot of good for this town.
First things first… I was absolutely blown away by this cast. They are all incredibly talented and truly do light up the screen in this film. With such a large ensemble cast I was impressed by the fact that we got to know each of these characters and see their complexities and flaws, but also their individual humanity. Sidebar: Can we also just pause and celebrate the ethnic diversity of this group?? THIS is what Hollywood can and should like for the record.
Denzel Washington is an actor who consistently delivers quality performances and his character Sam Chisolm is no exception. He is tough, but fair and like all heroes in Westerns, he has a great sense of justice and loyalty- almost to a fault.
Chris Pratt has quickly climbed the ranks as an actor worth watching. He brings most of the humor in the film, which is no surprise, but his character Farraday is also quick with a gun and even does nifty card tricks on the side. Like Chisolm, he’s tough and loyal and joins this cause for reasons that aren’t explored at great length.
Ethan Hawke’s character Goodnight is perhaps the most complex of the bunch and he deals with a lot of guilt and pain about how he has lived his life. He is quite compelling in this role and was exciting to watch onscreen. Goodnight and Chisholm have history together, which is fitting since this movie reunites Hawke and Denzel with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua.
Vincent D’Onofrio is amazing and proves yet again that he is wildly versatile as an actor. The voice and mannerisms of his character Jack Horne is like nothing you’ve seen him do before!
The Magnificent Seven is rounded out by Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier- who are all fantastic to watch. I look forward to seeing each of their future projects as this film opened them up to showcase their talent in a fresh way.
The villainous businessman who terrorizes the town is named Bogue and portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard. He does a good job as the selfish and cowardly man responsible for so many innocent deaths. You’ll hate him…trust me.
Additionally, I was really pleased with the film’s direction. Antoine Fuqua is an award-winning director and he definitely knows what he is doing with this film. It is a true Western through and through and I find it extremely admirable that he stayed the course and didn’t try to do a “Modern Western” (does such a thing truly exist!?)
There are several elements of the traditional Westerns we know and love; lengthy stand-offs and duels between characters as well as some really nice gun work between the actors. I also enjoyed the wide shots that showed off the sprawling countryside and the town of Rose Creek. Good good stuff!
I really can’t think of too many solid “cons” or negatives in this film. *mini spoiler ahead*
**I would have really liked if all of the Magnificent 7 had made it to the final act. I wasn’t really mentally prepared for any of them to die because in most westerns the heroes always make it.
The very beginning of the movie had me feeling a little impatient- I wanted to get to the action sooner, but the second and third act definitely made up for that feeling.
There is also quite a bit of death and violence (a staple of Fuqua’s films), and if you aren’t a fan of that you may want to steer clear. There isn’t anything TOO gory, but there is at least one stomach-churning scene that’s not for the faint of heart. Just a heads-up it involves a deer.
Overall, I thought Magnificent Seven was….magnificent. It’s currently in theaters and while it’s not for everyone I found it to be incredibly riveting and entertaining.
Magnificent Seven also stars Haley Bennett, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer, and Cam Gigandet.