The only thing more frustrating then a film without memorable moments is one that has them yet fails anyway. There’s nothing sadder then seeing the potential of a skilled filmmaker at work and never really seeing the sum of all the parts. The new western revenge tale titled "Sweetwater" is a classic example of the above – a film rich in great characters, skilled visuals and plenty of gunplay that goes nowhere.
Sarah and Miguel are a couple who have just bought new land and are trying to build a life together. But with fanatical religious leader Prophet Josiah nearby things start to run amok. So much so that he and Miguel mix words and Josiah kills him in cold blood. While the now widowed Sarah looks for her husband, new lawman Sheriff Jackson enters town looking for two missing men and immediately suspects the Prophet. So when Sarah learns the fate of Miguel, it’s a bitter revenge triangle of Sarah, Jackson and Josiah where all three will not walk away unscathed.
I’ll start with the positive – there’s some gold in these hills. Within the nimble framework of "Sweetwater" there is a tone of cool. Everything from the sassy cast (Ed Harris as the street savvy Jackson has never been better!) to the kicking ass (January Jones looks lethal and super sexy at the same time!) should make this flick a slam-dunk in the great flick category. Problem is whomever put this one together did so with the finesse of a bumpy country road. The film takes way too long to get started, Jones’s character starts wreaking revenge havoc way too late, Harris’s character bogs the film down with multiple lead stories and the one of the most interesting characters in the film – the aged and brilliant Amy Madigan as Jones’s mom – shows up for only five minutes of screen time. It’s like Director Logan Miller felt he was directing a trailer or music video where you put in the best bits but don’t worry about a cohesive story. That’s exactly what Sweetwater is – a marvelous moments ship cutting through the boring movie waves...with nobody behind the wheel.
I can even let pass the gratuitous shot of a topless Jones (yes, she looks incredible!) with gun in hand luring unsuspecting bad guys to their death at a rivers edge. But when you can’t use said shot to make a flick worthy of both the western and revenge genres, there’s trouble in half naked paradise. Chocking your film full of cool elements that don’t mesh or even compliment each other isn’t smart – it’s sloppy.
"SWEETWATER" IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON VOD AND DIGITAL AND HITS THEATRES ON OCT. 11 FROM ARC ENTERTAINMENT.
Stars: 2 1/2
Director: Logan Miller
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Company: Arc Entertainment