“Despite Meek's Cutoff Being A Hilarious Reference To The Film's Unresolved Ending, Kelly Reichardt Has Crafted The Most Original Western Ever In Her Surreal Depiction Of Frontier Life On The Oregon Trail.”
“Not Your Granddaddy's Western: A Slow, Methodical Recreation Of Life On The Oregon Trail.”
Under Oregon skies, there's political subtext for the taking in this terrific, unsettling film.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
A bracingly original foray into territory that remains, in every sense, unsettled.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
It enlivens and illuminates a genre that once dominated the American cinema and still holds a considerable grip on our imagination.
Philip French - Guardian [UK]
Kelly Reichardt's gaunt, mysterious and superbly calibrated movie about pioneers and the old American west appears to have come from another age - from the early days of Malick or Antonioni.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
A mesmerizing cinematic journey that is often as arduous and spare as the lives of its hard-bitten protagonists.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
Told largely in long shot, it's a painfully, beautifully slow film, which is understandable given the time, place, and situation.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Recalls Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man and even Werner Herzog's Aguirre: The Wrath of God in its evocation of frontier surrealism and manifest-destiny madness; the Reichardt approach is, however, more stringent and pointed in its weirdness.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
Fans of Kelly Reichardt's minimalist portraits will adore her stark Western, but others may be taken aback by the bold lack of traditional filmmaking.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
Amounts to a master class in the power of observation.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
A cinematic immersion of both modest and cosmic proportions, beautifully enacted by a cast that makes you fully believe that they are these beleaguered characters, and make you glad that you aren't.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
Reichardt's westward-ho is a world of confusion, geographical and moral, a dislocation beyond the remedy of water or Bibles.
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
It's a pleasureless, anti-sensuous aesthetic, but the movie, in its thorny, grudging way, is stirring, with many startling details.
David Denby - New Yorker
"Meek's Cutoff" is more an experience than a story.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
If you allow its windswept silences to work on you, "Meek's Cutoff" gathers its own snakelike sense of momentum...
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Imagine a collaboration between John Ford and Wallace Stevens and you might get a sense of what Kelly Reichardt pulls off here: a sincere re-creation of the pioneer experience, brought to life through careful, often unexpected detail.
Ben Sachs - Chicago Reader
The cinematography, by Chris Blauvelt, captures the rugged landscapes and rainless skies with a homespun elegance.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Reichardt serves the broccoli of historical pedantry, deliberately withholding the delicious cheese sauce of entertainment.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
This is the sort of film critics love to praise because the filmmaker has done good work before; and well, there must be something there. Well, there's not.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Greatly enhanced by the performances of Michelle Williams and Bruce Greenwood, director Kelly Reichardt's film quietly becomes engrossing - it almost sneaks up on you.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
Who goes to the movies for 104 minutes of punishment? Where is John Wayne, now that we need him?
Rex Reed - New York Observer
[Kelly Reichardt has] taken on her biggest budget (essentially a thicker shoestring) and most recognizable cast yet, while fully retaining her patient, deliberate approach to narrative and attentiveness to nature as a character.
Justin Chang - Variety
Without exception, the actors give understated but compelling performances.
V.A. Musetto - New York Post
It's the anti-western western, a story stripped of Zane Gray romance, sagebrush and mythic heroes.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
Upgrading her production values without compromising her minimalist style, Kelly Reichardt has nonetheless made her most accessible movie.
Eric Kohn - indieWIRE
A film ponderously slow in pace yet kinetically charged with insight; starkly realistic yet allegorical too; psychologically astute yet politically resonant.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
In this quiet, beautiful and terrifying fable about a group of lost pioneers, Reichardt combines epic ambition with a focus on intimate, personal detail.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Meek's Cutoff is also the least successful of the Reichardt films I've seen, but even with its flaws, this stripped-down feminist Western feels like necessary viewing and a harbinger of potentially great things to come.
Dana Stevens - Slate
It is an American independent in the true sense of the word, and it may well be the best homegrown movie we'll see this year.
Elbert Ventura - Slate
A realistic slice of pioneer life that offers a disquieting alternative vision of America's most mythic location.
Deborah Young - Hollywood Reporter
Reichardt trusts her audience, encourages her viewers to feel comfortable in the stillness and the quiet, and to draw their own conclusions from an ending that's as profound as it is enigmatic.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
It's a deceptively small piece of onscreen art that resonates afterward with such insistence that I felt positively nagged by it.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
Kelly Reichardt has crafted a haunted dream of a movie to get lost in.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Reichardt has stripped "Meek's" down to bare essentials and careful emotions. The cast captures that quality beautifully - like the water that is running out, everything is conserved.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
The film is both evocative and provocative; atmospherically and conceptually, respectively.
Dan Jardine - Cinemania
- Sight and Sound
I rarely feel the heart-in-my-throat suspense that I felt as Reichardt's characters sent a covered wagon down a steep hill ...
Jeffrey Overstreet - Filmwell
A better complement than 'The Big Trail' would be 'The Blair Witch Project,' another film that taps into an American unease with the wilderness that is the shadow twin of the country's bold sense of manifest destiny.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
I felt like I was trapped on a slow-moving wagon train to nowhere with a bunch of people I wanted to escape from.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Offbeat and most interesting western about emigrant pioneers lost in the prairie.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
... a primal piece of filmmaking, wrought from dirt and rock, calico and splintered wood, and illuminated by natural light and campfire.
Sean Axmaker - Parallax View
Be warned. Some stretches are almost as much of a slog for the viewer as they are for the pioneers... But Meek's Cutoff conveys a far more realistic account of what life was really like on the frontier trail than John Wayne or Clint Eastwood ever did.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
- National Post
This is a film where life and death decisions are made at every turn; where the very concepts of religion and humanity are dissected in gorgeously subtle yet devastating ways.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Kelly Reichardt's extremely modest film is slow, but it is also intriguing, moving and meaningful.
CJ Johnson - ABC Radio (Australia)
May well be truer to what the migration west was like for many settlers than Hollywood's romanticized and sanitized version of such stories.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Michelle Williams is now the only Dawson's Creek cast member with a chat-worthy film career.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
"Meek's Cutoff" works wonders even if you don't buy the political metaphor, instead appreciating the film as a historical survival tale and a meditation on the nature of trust - how others win it from us and why we give it to them.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Exhausting and ambiguous, it's for moviegoers who relish a quiet, arduous chronicle of bleak hardship, seemingly portrayed in real time.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate