Best new Western movies (2016) - Top Netflix & Cinema
Whoever thinks that the Western is long dead, is terribly wrong. Indeed, the genre is more alive than it has been for decades. It is no longer only Clint Eastwood who runs the game, it has become a genre with many new players, and with many new innovative plays on the genre. Comedies have realized the potential of the almost silly seriousness of these tough cowboys, and even horror filmmakers see opportunities for scary stuff taking place in the dusty Wild West. But we mainly see an increase in modern & slick genre films that feel like old-fashioned Westerns with shoot-outs and saloons, but feel undeniably new, and are perhaps a little bloodier and more violent (The Hateful Eight, Brimstone). From Tarantino to the Coen Brothers, we picked the very best neo-westerns of the last couple of years.
The Vore's Film staff selects the top best western movies of 2016 in cinema or on DVD or Netfix. Are Tommy Lee Jones, Quentin Tarantino & Martin Koolhoven our new western genre directors? In the 2010's, the Golden Days of the Western Film have long been gone. Back in the days, certain directors were specialized in making them, most notable John Ford, Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. You don’t find this kind of highly specialized directors anymore. At its best, a modern Western film in 2014 is something a director, for once in his career, gives a shot at; a style exercise so to say. There’s often a strong hint of irony in these films. Everyone’s familiar with the archetypes of the genre, so let’s just blend in as many of these elements and then we’ll have nice piece of pastiche cinema!
In 1950 Hollywood produced over a 130 Western films. In 1960 not even 30. The film genre’s popularity decreased, which was largely the result of the rise of the Western TV series like Bonanza, Rawhide, Gunsmoke and The Rifle Man. They kept the audiences away from the cinemas and glued to their tubes. The genre as people knew it became worn out. Then Revisionist Western film makers like Sam Peckinpah and Alejandro Jodorowsky revitalized the genre. Their films didn’t just depict the white men as good and the Indians as evil and challenged the genre’s fixed aesthetics, to put it bluntly.
Some say the Western Film has been dead for quite some time now. That is not true, although, admittedly, pretty much of what happens today is indeed retro and pastiche. Or postmodern if you wish, that obnoxious, inevitable term. Well, what follows are the best Westerns of the 2010’s according to us.
Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning & Kit Harington
The Salvation, The Revenant & Slow West
Best western movies on Netflix or DVD in 2016
2010's best rated western movies out on DVD, Bluray or streaming on VOD (Netflix, Amazon).
Hell or High Water (26-08-2016, 102 minutes)
Starring Jeff Daniels (who else) as a soon-to-be-retired grumpy sheriff chasing two bank-robbing brothers through Texas, 'Hell or High Water' is a truly triumphant modern Western. Atmospheric, thrilling and darkly comic at times. An absolute must-see.
This highly anticipated remake of the 1960 classic 'The Magnificent Seven' (which itself was a remake of Kurosawa's brilliant 'Seven Sumarai') slightly disappointed when we first saw it. But all the same, it's a very solid, entertaining and well-crafted western.
In 2005 actor-turned-director Tommy Lee Jones surprised friend and foe with the surprisingly strong neo-Western The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. The genre suits Jones, so to say, as The Homesman is one of the most interesting films of 2014, and the definitely the best western of 2014 I’ve seen so far. Hillary Swank, in an impressive lead, is Mary Bee Cuddy, a somewhat quaint young unmarried woman who takes the task of escorting three mentally ill women through the vast and dangerous plains to the nearest asylum. Jones himself plays an opportunistic claim jumper who accompanies Marry Bee after a weird twist of faith. The Homesman is stunningly shot and succeeds wonderfully at shifting between hilarious, dark comedy and truly gripping drama. Tommy Lee Jones established himself as one of Hollywood’s most interesting directors with this outstanding feature film.
The word ‘pastiche’ almost seems to be invented for Quentin Tarantino’s films. Known as a cinephile extraordinaire, he pays homage to dozens of genres, films and directors within his work. But that doesn’t say it’s only a gimmick. Django Unchained is his first proper Western, although many of his earlier films borrowed a fair amount of the genres’ features. (Remember Inglorious Basterds’ brilliant opening scene?) The story is simple. Django is a former slave determined to revenge his former owners and to free his enslaved girlfriend. He’s helped by a peculiar bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz, which is another magnificent (and Academy Award winning role) by Christopher Waltz. Well, it’s not too hard to imagine what great things Tarantino can create with these ingredients.