Taglines: Keep your finger on the trigger.
A bloody Western about a deadly man who’s sworn off violence until his beloved dog is threatened, Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence plays like a grim, Eastwood-style genre revival before some conspicuous Tarantino-influenced humor infects its climactic showdown. Ethan Hawke is excellent as the gunslinger in question, a cavalryman hoping to escape his shameful past in Mexico; the actor should draw attention to a picture whose appeal is similar to that of Bone Tomahawk, which bowed here at October’s Fantastic Fest.
Hawke’s Paul is en route to Mexico when he stops in tiny Denton to get water for himself and his collie, Abbie. (Though it borrows the name of a real Texas town, the production’s New Mexico location is much more interesting terrain than the North Texas plains.) It’s a “town run by sinners,” he is warned, and it takes little time for one to seek him out: Local blowhard Gilly (James Ransone) picks a fight with Paul and gets his lights knocked out. Unfortunately, Gilly is the son of the local marshal (John Travolta), and the chip on his shoulder ensures he’ll come looking for payback with friends.
Before getting run out of town, Paul is befriended by Mary-Anne (Taissa Farmiga, charismatic as usual), an excitable innkeeper’s daughter longing to escape this abandoned mining town. And when he is ambushed out in the country, left for dead, and feels forced to seek revenge, she’s the only one on his side.
In a Valley of Violence is an American Western film written, directed, executive produced and edited by Ti West. The film marks the second time West has directed a non-horror film. Jason Blum serves as producer through his production company Blumhouse Productions. The film stars Ethan Hawke, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, and John Travolta. It had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 12, 2016. The film was given a limited release on October 21, 2016 by Focus Features.
In a Valley of Violence
Directed by: Ti West
Starring: Karen Gillan, Ethan Hawke, Taissa Farmiga, John Travolta, Burn Gorman, Toby Huss, James Ransone, Larry Fessenden
Screenplay by: Ti West
Production Design by: Jade Healy
Cinematography by: Eric Robbins
Film Editing by: Ti West
Costume Design by: Malgosia Turzanska
Set Decoration by: Adam Willis
Music by: Jeff Grace
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language.
Studio: Focus Features
Release Date: October 21, 2016