The Salvation (film)

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Not to be confused with Salvation! (1987 film)

The Salvation
Danish promotional poster
Directed byKristian Levring
Produced bySisse Graum Jørgensen
Written byAnders Thomas Jensen
Kristian Levring
StarringMads Mikkelsen
Eva Green
Eric Cantona
Mikael Persbrandt
Douglas Henshall
Michael Raymond-James
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Jonathan Pryce
Music byKasper Winding
CinematographyJens Schlosser
Edited byPernille Bech Christensen
Distributed byNordisk Film
United Kingdom:
Warner Bros.
United States:
IFC Films
Release date
  • 17 May 2014 (2014-05-17) (Cannes)
  • 22 May 2014 (2014-05-22) (Denmark)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
United Kingdom
South Africa
LanguageEnglish, Danish, Spanish
Budget10.5 million
Box office$44,903[2]

The Salvation is a 2014 Danish western film directed by Kristian Levring and written by Anders Thomas Jensen and Levring. The film stars Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce, Eric Cantona, Mikael Persbrandt, Douglas Henshall and Michael Raymond-James.


Following the Second Schleswig War in 1864, Jon and his brother Peter emigrate to the United States from Denmark and settle somewhere between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. Seven years later, Jon’s wife, Marie and his 10-year-old son, Kresten, arrive. The family boards a stagecoach bound for their small residence while Peter stays behind. Their coach is also boarded by two recently released criminals, Paul and Lester. Following a tense struggle, the two criminals throw Jon out of the moving coach after which they rape and kill Jon's wife. They also kill his son and the stagecoach drivers.

With great effort, Jon catches up to the coach to find his family murdered. Enraged, he kills the two convicts.

Unbeknownst to Jon, Paul is the brother of Henry Delarue, a notorious gang leader and land baron. Upon hearing the news, Delarue kills three innocent citizens of Black Creek, the town that reports the deaths to him. He also forces the townspeople to cooperate and find his brother's killer. Delarue was once an Army Colonel who fought Native Americans. At one point, he is stated to have once been a good man before he became twisted by war.

After burying his wife and son, Jon decides to leave the town with Peter and sells his land to Keane, Black Creek's mayor and undertaker. Before they can leave, Jon and Peter are captured by the town Sheriff and minister, Mallick. As Jon sits in his cell, Mallick tells him that his death will buy the town more time while he tries to alert higher authorities of Delarue's actions. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Delarue is working with the Standard Atlantic Oil Company and with the help of Mayor Keane, had been acquiring Black Creek and its surrounding land, which is rich with untapped crude oil. Unknown to Mallick, the company managed to intercept his message for help and prevent it from reaching the authorities. Delarue's now widowed sister-in-law Madelaine, who is also mute, acts as his accountant and suffers sexual and physical abuse from him.

The next morning, Jon is escorted to Delarue's base, an abandoned town, and is tied to a post and left in the sun. In Black Creek, Peter breaks out of jail and kills several of Delarue's henchmen. He cuts Jon free, and the pair rides off while being pursued by Delarue and his remaining men.

Realizing Jon is too weak to carry on, Peter leaves him hidden and leads the gang away, and is eventually caught and killed. Taking advantage of Delarue's absence, Madelaine steals his cash and boards a train. However, the train is intercepted, and she is captured. Delarue tells his men to kill Madelaine after they are done raping her.

Jon roams the countryside, looking for water and shelter. He stumbles across a small residence belonging to Mrs. Whistler, whose husband was killed by Delarue. Jon takes shelter in her house to recover from his wounds, while Mrs. Whistler and her children flee Black Creek. After returning to town, he confronts and kills Mayor Keane for his deception. At the general store, he arms himself and reluctantly accepts the help of Voichek, the young storekeeper whose grandmother was killed by Delarue.

Jon uses diversions and guerrilla tactics to kill Delarue's henchmen one at a time. Voichek is killed and inadvertently sets fire to the hotel where Madelaine is being held, enabling her to escape. Delarue finds and wounds Jon. Just as he is about to kill Jon, Madelaine shoots Delarue twice, and Jon finishes him with a shot to the head.

Sheriff Mallick and his deputies arrive at the scene and thank Jon. When they try to arrest Madelaine, Jon orders them to leave and states that he will be taking her with him. The pair leaves to start their new life together, and the film then reveals that the land is ultimately taken over by the oil company, with several functioning oil wells.



Principal photography began on 8 April 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.[4][5]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, The Salvation has a rating of 72% rating based on 78 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "It's all but impossible to add anything new or fresh to the traditional Western, but – thanks in no small part to Mads Mikkelson's [sic] performance – The Salvation comes close."[6] On Metacritic the film has a score of 64 out of a 100 based on 19 critics, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[7]

In The Observer, Jonathan Romney found the film: "tips its Stetson to John Ford and Sergio Leone with bold widescreen visuals – daytime shots in which even the sun looks sunbaked, prairie nightscapes resembling ink-soaked denim" but added "it never transcends reverent pastiche, down to the hackneyed sounds of Morricone-style guitars". Romney concluded, "Best reason to see The Salvation: its chief varmint, played with ornery glint and bristling whiskers by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who has the sleepy-eyed malignity of vintage western heavy Jack Elam".[8]


  1. ^ "Salvation". British Board of Film Classification. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  2. ^ "The Salvation (2015) - Weekend Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  3. ^ Harris, Gerard (26 May 2014). "The Salvation (2014) UK release date, trailer and movie details". Tuppence Magazine. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  4. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (22 April 2013). "Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan & More Join Mads Mikkelsen In The Salvation". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  5. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (22 April 2013). "First Look At Mads Mikkelsen In Western 'The Salvation'; Eva Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jonathan Pryce & More Join Cast". IndieWire. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  6. ^ "The Salvation (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  7. ^ "The Salvation (2014)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  8. ^ Romney, Jonathan (19 April 2015). "The Salvation review – Dogme 95 meets Ford and Leone". The Observer. London: Guardian News and Media Limited. p. 29. ISSN 0029-7712. OCLC 50230244. Retrieved 24 April 2015.

External links[edit]