Credits: Directed by Michael Winterbottom and starring Peter Mullan, Sean McGinley, Wes Bentley, Nastassja Kinski, Sarah Polley, Milla Jovovich, Shirley Henderson, Julian Richings, Randy Birch, Tom McCamus, Frank Zotter, Artur Ciastkowski, Barry Ward, Karolina Muller and David Lereaney.
Details: (M), 120 mins, English
Synopsis: It's 1867 and the remote town of Kingdom Come is controlled by a single man whose mistress runs the bordello and saloon. Newcomers, including a mother and daughter and a survey team form a railroad company, threaten to change the town's fortunes.
An epic drama that never takes its eye off the human elements.
Transposing 19th century Wessex to the goldrush years of America`s Sierra Nevada Winterbottom and his screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce have loosely adapted Thomas Hardy`s The Mayor of Casterbridge. Their tragic hero is Dillon, Peter Mullin a man who has gained his wealth in the town of Kingdom Come from an original dishonourable act. His fate will be determined by the arrival of the stagecoach and its occupants: Elena, Nastassja Kinski, who is a sick woman and has come to town to assure the future of her daughter Hope, Sarah Polley. Also on the coach is Dalgleish, Wes Bentley, a surveyor for the railroad company. He has to find a route over the mountains, perhaps through Kingdom Come....Winterbottom makes exquisite films and this is no exception. Visually stunning with extraordinary images of burning horses galloping through the snow and two storey houses being moved through forests, the film has an integrity through the performances, through the script and through the cold, which has such a powerful presence. The cinematography of Alwin Kuechler makes Kingdom Come almost monochromatic except when you move inside, into the warmth of the saloon and brothel for example which is run by Dillon`s paramour Lucia - an extraordinarily charismatic performance from Milla Jovovich. This is epic drama that never takes its eye off the human elements. I`m so enthusiastic about this film I can barely contain myself.
With The Claim, Michael Winterbottom has transported Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge” from Wessex to the pioneer trail of 1869 California.
The revamping of classic literature is becoming an increasing trend. Rarely though, does a director alter the story whilst retaining its original era. With The Claim, Michael Winterbottom has transported Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge” from Wessex to the pioneer trail of 1869 California.
Daniel Dillon (Peter Mullen) is a man whose economic prosperity is a result of a decision he once made to swap his wife Elena (Nastassja Kinski) and daughter for a mining claim. Yet even his wealth is threatened when greedy surveyor Mr Daglish (Wes Bentley) reveals plans to build a railroad through his town. When the dying Elena arrives with their child Hope (Sarah Polley) to ask for financial assistance Dillon is forced to confront his past.
Mullen conveys a character as equally flawed as his title role in My Name is Joe, Polley (Go, Guinevere) once again communicates a dangerous vulnerability, and Bentley’s (American Beauty) Daglish is at once under-developed and hauntingly elusive.
There is no landscape more appropriate than the snow-covered Sierra Nevada to suit Michael Nyman’s penetratingly beautiful, icy score. Winterbottom unfolds the narrative primarily through images, and his characters’ screen-time is shared almost equally with the stark, surrounding wilderness captured eloquently by Alwin Kuchler's cinematography.
Thankfully, Winterbottom never loses sight of the internal landscape of the mind, the driving force behind the film and what separates The Claim from his previous, slightly heartless Hardy rendition of Jude.
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