EIFF 2010: The Last Rites Of Ransom Pride review

Carl reviews The Last Rites Of Ransom Pride, and finds even the presence of Lizzy Caplin and Kris Kristofferson can't save the Western from mediocrity…

There’s this girl called Juliette Flowers, and she was in love with Ransom Pride who, after accidentally killing a priest, got shot and killed. His body was then claimed by some kind of spiritual witch lady who said he belonged to the devil now, and  Juliette says, “I’m having none of that!” and decides that she’ll do everything to get his body back.

So she puts on some ridiculously awful clothes, and the dumbest, unfitting hat I’ve ever seen, goes to see the witch lady, Bruja, and then lets slip that he has a brother. Which, apparently, will do for a swap. The devil won’t mind who it actually is, apparently. “Oh, he’s got a dog. Will that do?”

So, she goes off and finds his brother and convinces him to come with her to get his brother’s body back. He goes and lots of shooting occurs, considering this is a Western and all.

Well, it’s a big pile of shit. I really wanted to like Lizzie Caplan as a guntoting cowgirl, but, to be honest, she gave an entirely lacklustre performance and had a pretty naff accent to boot. Even just to listen to all the other cowboys around and hear her voice you’d have to wonder how she grew up here and gained this accent.

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Then, of course, you have the terrible look of the film, which spends most of its time looking too white, or very brown. Sure, Tiller Russell, add a tint, by all means, but don’t change the fabric of reality in a Western!

Add to that the massively annoying font which they have chosen for the subtitles, which looks like chicken scratch and brings the film down another couple of notches. You want to go down a few more? Sure, why not throw in random editing jumps at the end of scenes to flashes of the same scene you’ve just watched. Not only are they intensely annoying, but they completely bring the viewer out of the story. It would have been fine if there were a few here and there, but it’s the fact they happen every thirty seconds that annoyed me.

What else can I say? The lines are hammy, the costumes are quite poor and most of the secondary characters can’t act themselves out of a box.

One thing that ground my gears more than anything was the music. Not only is it completely awful (taking a highly average Western soundtrack and adding a few wailing guitars over it) but they had Dwight Yoakam and Kris Kristofferson sitting right in the cast. Now, I’m not saying their music is great or anything like that. I’m just saying whatever they could shit out of a quite rightly unreleased box of music in their houses would be ten times better than this bollocks.

Now, the film did have a few redeeming qualities, no matter how insignificant they seemed when surrounded by all this terribleness. There a few nice comedic moments, which do their best to impress me that it’s not all bad, and the direction can actually be pretty impressive, even if it is ruined by the horrible ‘tints’.

There are also a few small but entertaining performances in the film, from Peter Dinklage and another of their travelling companions, who was obviously not important enough to mention in any press packets, as I cannot find any trace of his name. Maybe he saw the film and decided to pull his name out to avoid being associated with it.

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As it is, The Last Rites Of Ransom Pride is pretty darn bad, and I say that as someone who was looking forward to it. Had it been tweaked here and there and just generally given a little bit more thought, it could have worked out to be a fairly okay film, but that didn’t happen. No, this film decided to toil in everything bad, and suffered dearly. At least Ransom Pride himself died in the first few minutes, meaning he didn’t have to live through this ordeal of a film.


1 out of 5