Off The’Falls’

Bentley Ford

By Bentley FordPLAY Columnist

One thirty-one p.m.: For a little-known, post-bellum Western starring two Irish lads – Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson – there sure are a good number of people who want to see Seraphim Falls. This’ll make writing my review while watching the movie rather difficult, but it’s still the pinnacle of laziness. Warning: Spoilers abound.

1:35: Pierce looks cold. His beard is frozen. It also looks like the Colonel’s beard, and that’s fantastic. Elsewhere on the mountain, Liam and his hired hands have just shot at Pierce, and now poor Pierce is tumbling down a mountain, into a river and over a waterfall. This is the “I JUST GOT SHOT!” equivalent of Stop, Drop and Roll.

1:49: In a successful attempt to create a more macho image, Pierce pours whiskey on his wound and then wiggles the bullet out of his arm with a knife. He has officially left behind his pretty-boy past as James Bond.

1:59: Liam and his friends have spent the past 10 minutes looking up into trees – that is, until Pierce, hiding in the top of a tree, drops his knife into one guy’s face!

2:00: Now Pierce has split open the dead man’s belly and burrowed his hands inside for warmth! Incidentally, it’s ridiculously cold outside today, so mind your belly.

2:01: The old lady next to me sees I have a laptop, but she’s 90, so she probably mistakes it for a compact or a time machine. Speaking of old ladies, where’s Anjelica Huston? She’s supposed to be in this, and that’s quaint, what with her father directing real Westerns and all.

2:02: This Discovery Channel photography of the mountainside sure is a welcome distraction from the lack of plot.

2:21: Pierce finds a homestead and tries to steal one of the horses.

2:22: Shoot! A little girl caught him! But she and her family decided to take care of the haggard Pierce, despite him being a dirty, dirty thief.

2:33: Apparently, Pierce’s character has a name, but I will continue to refer to him as Pierce. Pierce also has a very shiny crucifix around his neck, appropriate, given this family’s forgiveness.

2:56: Liam begins to reveal why he wants to kill Pierce. Something about Seraphim Falls – most likely a reference to the highest order of angels, the seraphim – and probably having to do with those flashbacks I keep ignoring.

3:01: How did Pierce just enter a desert? What happened to the snow? Maybe this is just An Inconvenient Truth dressed as a Western. Maybe global warming caused the Civil War. I have a sinking suspicion, though, that this movie’s subtext has a lot more to do with Christianity than Al Gore, but hopefully I’m wrong.

3:03: Pierce runs into a caravan from Oregon Trail II. They’re probably about to ford the river, only to discover that nine of their oxen died.

3:04: Turns out this caravan comes not from Oregon Trail II, but from God. That’s got to be the fifth reference to Christianity.

3: Pierce’s horse just died. He prays for the horse while cutting it open. I’m not sure what the cutting is accomplishing. Pierce sees Liam approaching. This movie is one hell of a chase scene.

3: Liam and some nobody approach the dead horse. They wonder why this horse has its entrails spilled on the desert floor and – HOLY SHIT! Pierce just jumped out of the dead horse and slit that dude’s neck! That’s the coolest instance of a man hiding in an animal since Luke Skywalker light-sabered that Tauntaun open back on Hoth and slept in him. Pierce leaves Liam to die, but the movie somehow does not end here.

3:15: Pierce begins to pray over a desert that the writers probably wanted to represent life. Hey, it’s Anjelica Huston! What’s she doing in the desert? She’s dressed all in red and sells Pierce a cure-all and a bullet. She symbolizes the temptress some call Satan.

3:21: Now she sells Liam a pistol, and Liam runs off to kill Pierce. Adorably enough, they both resist temptation, forgive each other, and head their separate ways.

3:23: Did a Western just try to evangelize me? Or have both my column and my mind jumped the shark? Either way, do yourself a favor and don’t bother with Seraphim Falls unless you really love Pierce, Westerns or overwrought allegories – or, y’know, all three at once. (Conversely, one could take this film as an indictment for the Iraq war, but that’s far less entertaining.)

Communication sophomore Bentley Ford is the PLAY film columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]