DEAD MAN'S BURDEN, the new old-style western from Jared Moshé (his first film as writer/ director), gets the style right, along with that "laconicity" (somebody: what's the noun for laconic?), and his setting, production design (Ruth De Jong) and cinematography (Robert Hauer) are all on the mark. For about half of this 2012 movie, theatrically released in limited fashion last year and now available via Netflix streaming, the spare, stripped dialog works pretty well, at least up until the midway point, because it would seem to bode important revelations to come.
Harry Cohen "squirming fanny" test. Mr. Moshé, shown at left, spills not just the beans way too soon, but he then settles for having us spend the last half of the film mostly looking at scenery, and occasionally at close-ups of his actors, while waiting for the other, fairly obvious shoe to drop (or maybe boot, as this is a western).
Barlow Jacobs (above) plays a long-lost brother returned to the bosom of a family he left and which seems to have been a nest of vipers, in any case.
Clare Bowen (above) portrays his rifle-woman sister, and David Call (below, left) essays her lover-boy, Heck.
Richard Riehle as a long-distance neighbor, and Joseph Lyle Taylor (above, right) as a fellow come to make an offer on the family's property. The story itself simply plops a dysfunctional family down in a pretty orange-adobe/dirt-floored shack in post-Civil War New Mexico, and lets the remaining members go at each other, laconically, repetitively, until revenge takes its toll.
Netflix and elsewhere....