Film Review – Old Henry (2021)

Title – Old Henry (2021) 

Director – Potsy Ponciroli (Super Zeroes) 

Cast – Tim Blake Nelson, Gavin Lewis, Scott Haze, Stephen Dorff, Trace Adkins 

Plot – In the old time American west, quiet famer Henry (Nelson) and his teenage boy Wyatt (Lewis) have their simple lives upturned when they take in the injured Curry (Haze), a man on the run from violent lawman Ketchum (Dorff) who will stop at nothing to take Curry dead or alive.  

“You can’t bury the past” 

Review by Eddie on 24/02/2022

Much about new low budget western Old Henry feels familiar to anyone that has ever watched a grizzled and humorless take on the American west but that never stops director Potsy Pociroli’s well-shot and acted drama from being an above average affair that gets extra points for allowing the always great Tim Blake Nelson a chance to take charge in a rare leading man role. 

Seemingly heading towards an inevitable conclusion based around Nelson’s quiet and solitary farmer Henry taking in Scott Haze’s wounded Curry who is being pursued by Stephen Dorff’s Ketchum and his determined posse, Old Henry has enough surprises and well developed character arcs within it to be become a genre crowd pleaser that kicks off big time with a memorable final act/reveal that is sure to get audiences talking. 

Picturesquely shot around various United States locales, Ponciroli’s visually appeasing outing never lingers too long on its various elements also, as we try and uncover the secret behind Henry’s past, Curry’s mysterious presence and Ketchum’s motivations and end goals that is all played out well by its talented group of performers with Nelson in particular as good as his been in years as the gruff and no fuss Henry. 

No stranger to the Western genre with key roles in the likes of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and hugely underrated The Homesman, the rugged face of the supporting actor who stole scenes in such noteworthy films as O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Lincoln and Syriana has rarely been given the chance in feature films to do the bulk of the work in front of the camera but he relishes the role his been given here by Ponciroli. 

Neatly playing things cool throughout Old Henry’s opening half, once we begin to gain more understanding about Henry’s past and what has driven him to his life as a lowly farmer removed from the eyes of the wider population Nelson’s smart turn really begins to pay-off with his understated but effective work here making this bloody western outing more than the sum of its parts where it may become more workmanlike with both Haze and Dorff not getting a lot too do in their respective roles but Nelson more than makes up for it in his memorable turn. 

Final Say – 

Many components of Old Henry feel overly familiar and unsurprising but Potsy Ponciroli and his leading man do enough to make sure that this low-budget but effective western offering is going to be sure fire hit with longstanding fans of the genre with the films rip-roaring finale ensuring the film ends on a high note also. 

3 1/2 newspaper clippings out of 5  

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