The Dead Don't Hurt

The Dead Don't Hurt

In the 1860s, fiercely independent French-Canadian Vivienne Le Coudy embarks on a journey with Danish immigrant Holger Olsen, attempting to forge a life together in the dusty town of Elk Flats, Nevada. When Holger decides to go fight for the Union in the burgeoning Civil War, Vivienne must fend for herself, which isn't easy in a town controlled by a corrupt mayor.

  • Released:
  • Runtime: 130 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, Western
  • Stars: Garret Dillahunt, W. Earl Brown, Viggo Mortensen, Vicky Krieps, Danny Huston, Ray McKinnon, Solly McLeod, Alex Breaux, Michael Weaver, Nadia Litz, Colin Morgan, Luke Reilly, Atlas Green
  • Director: Viggo Mortensen
  • Goosegirl14 - 11 June 2024
    A lot to admire, in a slightly undercut film
    This is said to be a Feminist Western. I can see in some ways how it earns that description. Vicky Kiep is outstanding and plays a young, stridently independent, intelligent, and mesmerising woman, Vivienne, who captures the attention of Viggo Mortensen's Olsen. She is clearly attracted to him and finds him a hugely improved contrast to the overly-mannered, pretentious and shallow man whose company she is having to suffer.

    Vivienne and Olsen quickly develop a delightfully playful, unsaccharin and equal partnership with/love for one another. The beautiful, determined and aspirational Vivienne is, I'm sure greatly to do with Kriepp's acting and interpretation, but it is impossible to ignore that Mortensen is proving again that he is a skilled, insightful and perceptive creator/director aswell as actor.

    The film then follows the couple as they navigate their life together in a typical Western town during the American civil war, in which corrupt, power-hungry, characters dominate, and reap violence and distress amoung the folk living there. Fear is used to maintain positions of authority and to ensure those in them not only receive the majority of wealth, but also decide what counts as 'law'/'justice'.

    I cannot fault the performances, the cinematography, the script or even what is a familiar tale.

    However, i know if I wasn't viewing this in the cinema I'd have given up on it after the first 45mins. In my amateur opinion, it could have been better if less fleshy and tightened up through cutting. I feel better editing could deliver a punchier, more engaging first half. I'm glad I did watch it at the cinema though, because after the initial drag, it really took off and I became very invested and involved.

    Where feminism shines is the character of Vivienne herself and her refusal to be cowered by the horrendous violence and violation inflicted upon her. What enraged me and actually made me tearful was the way in which her supposedly relatively egalitarian/non-misogynistic 'husband'/love/partner, Olsen, made the traumatic, brutal and soul destroying attack on Vivienne about him. I am sure it is reflective of the time and a sadly accurate portrayal of how men would have (& many still do) react to discovering such a devastating violation has occurred, rather than Mortensen himself. The film definitely captures the female perspective, so I don't want to ignore this. In a way , I hope the film's focus on how Olsen makes what happened to Vivienne about HIM rather than her, highlights the need to remove male ego when it comes to sexual violence. Other audience members will feel, as I did, that the impact is has upon the victim (mostly women) is often diluted or given too little consideration due to the consideration and attention given not only to the perpetrator but also the male allies of the victim.
  • donmurray29 - 3 June 2024
    Slow and steady, not great tale of love and loss.
    6/10 for this western based love story, written and directed by Viggo Mortensen, it's a visually great looking film but the characters and story just don't really grip at all. And feels very long and gets long in the tooth. Acting is good, but can't save the sloth like action, a disappointing film, not the worst out there this month, but worth the trip, maybe not. Viggo, I think, can make a good director, and the music, also by him, works well, but the story, just did not do much for me, and this is the first of the western film genre films, coming out this year, not the best start, who will go see this film??