In the American West of the 1870s, a European settler, Jon Jensen (Mads Mikkelsen), has just welcomed his wife and son to the country when they are kidnapped and murdered. He takes revenge on the murderers, only to discover that one was the brother of a local land baron, Henry Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who runs the local town with a brutal hand. Upon hearing the news, Delarue kills three innocent citizens of Black Creek, the town that reports the deaths to him. He also forces the townspeople to cooperate and find his brother’s killer. Jon is fighting more than just the local thugs, he is facing the entire town.
Delarue’s now widowed (and mute) sister-in-law, Madelaine (excellently played by Penny Dreadful’s Eva Green), acts as his accountant and suffers sexual and physical abuse from him. She comes to the aid of Jon as he uses diversions and guerrilla tactics to kill Delarue’s henchmen one at a time. The two join together in the finale as they face down the enraged Delarue.
The Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen unleashes a torrent of bloodshed in this brutal tale of revenge. Containing the same tension that drives the John Ford classic The Searchers, The Salvation has just enough darkness and twisted imagery (spurred on by the melancholy Eva Green and the wicked Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to rate high on GothicWestern.com.
In The Observer, Jonathan Romney found the film: “tips its Stetson to John Ford and Sergio Leone with bold widescreen visuals – daytime shots in which even the sun looks sunbaked, prairie nightscapes resembling ink-soaked denim” but added “it never transcends reverent pastiche, down to the hackneyed sounds of Morricone-style guitars”. Romney concluded, “Best reason to see The Salvation: its chief varmint, played with ornery glint and bristling whiskers by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who has the sleepy-eyed malignity of vintage western heavy Jack Elam”.
The Salvation is on most streaming platforms, or you can pick up the DVD HERE.