It’s 2016, and directors are still out here trying to reinvent the Western. Dutch director Martin Koolhoven takes his own stab at the undying genre with the indie film Brimstone, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival earlier this year. Dakota Fanning and Kit Harington star in roles originally supposed to be played by Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson; they’re joined by Guy Pearce, Carice van Houten, and Emilia Jones in this Western that takes more of a thriller approach to the Old West than the throwback action-adventure Westerns that have been having a moment recently.
Brimstone follows Liz (Fanning), a resilient mother being hunted by her vengeful nemesis, a local reverend (Guy Pearce) who cruelly rules their small town in the Old West. The Reverend tortures and punishes Liz in the name of religion, accusing her of a crime she never committed and very publicly abusing her. But Brimstone promises retribution as Liz fights back for her own life, and the sake of her daughter’s. But since this is a Western, she doesn’t get to be the sole hero of the story: There’s also a handsome man (Harington) who shows up to help save the town from The Reverend’s wrath. The dark trailer disturbs, especially because of how straight-up terrifying Pearce looks in it.
“Retribution is coming” when Brimstone hits theaters in January 2017.