Ivan Kavanagh is becoming a director to watch. His horror film THE CANAL, not only crept under the skin, leaving an uncomfortable taste days after it ended. It showed a knack for genre. Now his western NEVER GROW OLD, is setting up an expectation of the same. From the outside it seems solid. A rising profile cast that includes Emile Hirsch, John Cusack, Deborah Francois and Danny Webb. A structured and solid script from Kavanagh himself and the muddy, blood soaked, blackened interiors that made some of the genres best films like UNFORGIVEN.

Patrick Tate (Hirsch) is an Irishman in a well established American town, run by a small but vocal religious group in rural backwaters. When Dutch Albert (Cusack) and his gang of outlaws, take over from the church he also profits as the towns undertaker. The problem is about to become worse as his family become the object of a gang members eye and under his threat, Patrick has to choose to stand up or sit down.

Much has been gotten Kavanagh and his team here. A great choice of cast. With Cusack in particular as the exceptional standout. His evil is omnipotent in the film. It breaths in and out as he staggers across the screen. It underpins the utter monstrousness of some of the events within. The mood is another thing done well. Set early it is unmistakably unsettling. It often feels omnipresent. The bleakness drips off the screen and does not abate as the story unfolds. These things are a mark of skill and style. If I were to gripe about NEVER GROW OLD, it would be that Kavanagh falls into the same issue as he did in CANAL. Riffing on older films. From THE SEARCHERS, HEAVENS GATE and Clint Eastwoods catalogue. Its jarring because it is so obvious. Like a film school student and their first film. Respect others work but do not fall, like Paul Schrader into adulation blindness. This told…its still a hell of a ride…

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.