Spekaing with Vendela Vida for the May issue of Interview Magazine, Montana-born of Norwegian ancestry actress Michelle Williams shares the moment when director Kelly Reichardt came over to her house in Brooklyn and handed her the first draft of ‘Meeks’ Cutoff, an arthouse film with excellent reviews.
Three families, with only a few wagons and oxen as possessions, head West on the high desert in 1845, led by a garrulous but evasive tall-tale artist named Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood), who may or may not be taking them to a beautiful valley in Oregon. When they capture a lone and unhappy Indian (Ron Rondeaux), Meek wants to kill him, but Emily (Michelle Williams)—one of the wives, a woman of strong, steady character—protects the Indian, who just might bring them to a lake or a river. The journey from nowhere to nowhere becomes an absurdist quest, as if John Ford had been overtaken along the trail by Samuel Beckett. The director, Kelly Reichardt (“Wendy and Lucy”), moves us from the grandiosity of Western myth to the bone-wearying stress of mere existence. She gives us a new kind of feminist and materialist realism, with an emphasis on repetitive work, much of it done by the women. It’s a pleasureless, anti-sensuous aesthetic, but the movie, in its thorny, grudging way, is stirring, with many startling details. via The New Yorker