"Sweetwater": Don't Trust the Preacher, January Jones

Sweetwater Logan Miller's Sweetwater is a violent, self-consciously campy western that never quite adds up to anything. When evil preacher Josiah (Jason Isaacs, whose fake beard is reminiscent of Evil Spock's goatee) kills honest farmer Miguel (Eduardo Noriega), Miguel's widow, Sarah (January Jones), seeks revenge, while the oddball new sheriff (Ed Harris) has his own reasons for taking Josiah down. The New Mexico locations are beautiful, with plenty of wide vistas and scenes shot at twilight (Harris's character in particular enjoys dancing on the prairie in the setting sun), but Sweetwater plays like a Tarantino-wannabe western, and not a particularly successful one. There's scads of anachronistic profanity (and some that's just odd, including "Go scrub your ass with a cactus brush!"), as well as gratuitous nudity and lots of winking violence, but it's hard to care about any of it. The scraggly Harris is a real revelation, making the stylized dialogue work and displaying a fantastic comic timing, while character actor Stephen Root always improves a movie just by existing, and January Jones gives as good a performance as her poorly written character will allow. She's established as a former prostitute for no apparent reason other than so the male characters can call her a whore — but just because you can, that doesn't mean you should.

 
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