Friday, October 27, 2017

The Ballad of Lefty Brown

An excerpt from Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier Thesis opens Jared Moshe's The Ballad of Lefty Brown: "The frontier environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish." And that's the very thing the titular character (Bill Pullman) encounters.

For years, Lefty Brown has been under the shadow of Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda), who has recently given up the Montana frontier for Washington D.C. (he was recently voted as the state's senator). But early into his journey, Eddie is murdered. And Lefty vows to bring Eddie's killer to justice.

In a way, one could view The Ballad of Lefty Brown as if Walter Brennan was the star of the show instead of John Wayne. Here's a role that's often viewed as the sole comic relief amid gunfights so to see them getting a day in the spotlight is a nice touch. And who better than Pullman in such a role?

No stranger to the supporting roster, Pullman gets that starring vehicle most character actors dream of getting one day. And as Lefty, he faces ruthless killers, corrupt figures, and accusations that he's responsible for Eddie's death. But will Lefty find the guilty party before they get to him?

The Ballad of Lefty Brown has the usual tropes of the genre but Moshe still provides and entertaining picture. Pullman is great (as he so often is), offering his own worth as a leading man. And hopefully this won't be the only time we see him in such a distinction.

My Rating: ****

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