Meek's Cutoff (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kelly Reichardt|
|Produced by||Elizabeth Cuthrell|
|Written by||Jonathan Raymond|
|Music by||Jeff Grace|
|Edited by||Kelly Reichardt|
|Distributed by||Oscilloscope Laboratories|
|Box office||$1.2 million|
Meek's Cutoff is a 2010 American western film directed by Kelly Reichardt. The film was shown in competition at the 67th Venice International Film Festival. The story is loosely based on a historical incident on the Oregon Trail in 1845, in which frontier guide Stephen Meek led a wagon train on an ill-fated journey through the Oregon desert along the route later known as the Meek Cutoff in the western United States.
In 1845, a small band of settlers traveling across the Oregon High Desert suspect their guide, Stephen Meek, may not actually know where he is going. What was supposed to be a two-week journey, via what became known as the Meek Cutoff, stretches into five. With no relief in sight, tensions rise as water becomes increasingly scarce and supplies run low. The wives look on as the husbands discuss what to do, unable to participate in the decision making. The dynamics of power begin to shift when they capture a lone native and hold him captive in the hopes he will lead them to water. Meek argues the native can't be trusted, though doesn't present a more trustworthy leader himself. When he steps up to shoot the native, Mrs. Tetherow intervenes. In the end, when Mr. Tetherow succumbs to hardship, Meek submits to Mrs. Tetherow, who pins her hopes on the native.
- Michelle Williams as Emily Tetherow
- Bruce Greenwood as Stephen Meek
- Shirley Henderson as Glory White
- Neal Huff as William White
- Paul Dano as Thomas Gately
- Zoe Kazan as Millie Gately
- Tommy Nelson as Jimmy White
- Will Patton as Solomon Tetherow
- Rod Rondeaux as The Cayuse
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 85% based on reviews from 108 critics and reports a rating average of 7.5 out of 10, a generally positive reception. It reported the consensus, "Moving at a contemplative speed unseen in most westerns, Meek's Cutoff is an effective, intense journey of terror and survival in the untamed frontier." At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 85 based on 36 reviews.
- Survival film, about the film genre, with a list of related films