Set in a dark world of white, The Claim shows the powerful might of greed, family, and love in a stunning way.
Twenty years after trading his wife and infant daughter for a bag of gold, Mr. Dillon (Peter Mullan) is running a financially stable mining town in the Sierra Nevada. However, nothing lasts forever. A man (American Beauty's Wes Bentley) arrives trying to determine where to build the transcontinental railroad, and a mother and daughter (Nastassja Kinsky and Sarah Polley) show up as well, searching for the man that they used to call family. Emotions run high in an otherwise harsh environment.
The Claim is not a movie that will appeal to the mainstream audience, and that is probably the only reason why it was not successful in theaters, but the movie itself has the quality of any Hollywood production, with the script, story, and acting of something more. It is most definitely a drama, and a boring one at that, IF someone were not to pay attention. The Claim is not another boring drama; the multiple storylines seamlessly blend together, the conflict is tremendously well done, and the acting caps everything off beautifully. The scenery is beautiful and rough at the same time, and the setting of Kingdom Come is extremely realistic. The contrast from the harsh outdoors to the lustfully delicious interiors of the saloon are wonderful.
Like most dramas, the acting is an important part. The Claim can easily be said to have an ensemble cast. Wes Bentley marks the character of change, the man who basically decides whether the town of Kingdom Come lives or dies (if the railroad doesn't go nearby, then what good is it?), and really, he is the weakest one out of the entire cast. But if he is the weakest one, then that says something about everyone else, because Bentley still does a great job. Nastassja Kinsky does a very effective yet small job as the dying mother, but the man who steals the show is Peter Mullan, who plays the town's mayor. The emotions can be seen even when he is not talking, and it just gets better when he opens his mouth. All conflict revolves around him and he masters everything.
The Claim is a beautifully crafted film with wonderful acting and a great script. Most people haven't heard of it, but most people should watch the film anyway.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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