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Sweetwater (Blu-ray Review)

Sweetwater - www.whysoblu.comIn the late 1800’s, a beautiful former prostitute (January Jones) is trying to build an honest life with her husband in the rugged plains of New Mexico. When she catches the eye of a sadistic and powerful religious leader (Jason Isaacs), her life is violently turned upside down. She embarks on a bloody course of vengeance with the assistance of a renegade sheriff (Ed Harris) who has violent tendencies of his own. 

 

 

 

 

Sweetwater - www.whysoblu.com

 Film     

Sweetwater, formerly known as Sweet Vengeance, is the story of Sarah Ramirez (January Jones) and Miguel Ramirez (Eduardo Noriega). They’re a young couple striving to make it in a small New Mexico town that is run by some less than scrupulous characters that follow Prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs). Sarah has left a life of prostitution behind and has settled down with Miguel on a small farm that borders Prophet Josiah’s land. This, of course, will not sit well with the Prophet. If the Ramirez’s won’t join the flock then there really isn’t much need for them anywhere.

Enter the rambunctious Sheriff Jackson (a deliriously scary Ed Harris) into the fold who is neither friend nor foe. He comes in dispensing some beat downs upon the Prophet’s men all in the name of tracking some connected fellows that may or may not have fallen under the Prophet’s watch. Things slowly begin to heat up when Miguel goes missing and Sarah is tricked into going with Prophet Josiah so as that he may comfort her under the guiding light of God. Dude’s got game, I’ll say that much. Once Sarah gets her bearings straight she puts on her pretty purple velvet dress and unleashes hell in that small New Mexico town.

Let’s start off by saying that it is great to see a quality western hit the Blu-ray format! It’s about damn time. I had no idea what I was walking into since I had not seen the trailer for the film – I was only going by the press materials received and the awesome ensemble cast gathered. Jason Isaacs as the insane Prophet Josiah was a great touch and it looked like Isaacs was having a ball being unleashed like that. Ed Harris as the equally borderline insane Sheriff Jackson was also pretty cool and hilarious. He beats the crap out of someone while humming a tune and doesn’t miss a step!

Now the biggest revelation (wink, wink) is that of January Jones. I have not been kind to her in past reviews and due to her literally playing the “ice princess” in every freakin’ role she is in. This all changes with her turn in Sweetwater. She’s an ex-prostitute, so she’s a very damaged person and we see her internalize her pain and grief over the mysterious loss of her husband. She channels all of the hatred and redirects it at Prophet Josiah and everyone in his flock. Once Sarah picks up a gone it is on! I was literally floored by her turn as the Punisher – a female Punisher in the Wild West! C’mon! I was grinning from ear to ear. Not only that but she looks good dispensing brutal justice on the lawless.

Sweetwater was written by Noah and Logan Miller and directed by Logan Miller. Ed Harris executive produced the picture and unless my eyesight and memory are going to crap I suspect that the town sets used in the film were from Harris’ own Appaloosa film that came out a few years ago. I literally got a few flashbacks while watching the film. Mind you, I have not done the research to see if that is indeed the case. That town looked familiar to me, though. The Miller Brothers handle the film with grace and confidence. It’s a violent little western flick with lots of savage characters that you cannot wait until they get their comeuppance. Sweetwater is a keeper!

 

Sweetwater - www.whysoblu.com

Video     

Sweetwater is presented in 1080p, 2.35:1 widescreen. Sweetwater was gloriously shot on actual 35mm film and processed after the fact. The finished product is pretty cool. The film takes place in New Mexico but the coldness of the print gives the impression that it’s wintertime. I like how the print is de-saturated giving it that dull edge. It’s only when Ed Harris is onscreen sporting his blue coat along with January Jone’s purple velvet dress that the color palette really shines. Black levels are deep and are handled well but contrast levels are slightly boosted for aesthetics’ sake. Sweetwater is a very interesting looking film.

 

Sweetwater - www.whysoblu.com

Audio     

 Sweetwater is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. Sweetwater hits the Blu-ray format running. Dialogue is crystal clear yet extremely thunderous when Jason Iaacs or Ed Harris are onscreen. The LFE handle shotgun blasts with ease and the rear surround channels capture the lovely ambience of the wilderness beautifully. The sound field is quite enveloping, which is a very surprising thing when it comes to these low budget flicks. Sweetwater does just fine in the lossless sound department.

 

Sweetwater - www.whysoblu.com

Extras 

Sweetwater, unfortunately, drops the ball in the extras department. All we get is a standard featurette about how great every one was on set and how great the script was, blah, blah, blah. It is presented in HD, so that’s a bit of alright, isn’t it? There’s a song by recording artist Hudson Moore and a trailer.

  • Behind-the-Scenes (HD)
  • Music Video (Audio playback @192 kbps)
  • Trailer (HD)

Sweetwater - www.whysoblu.com

Summary 

Sweetwater surprised the hell out of me for sure. The entire cast was great and really played their parts well. Many props go to January jones, Ed Harris, and Jason Isaacs. They were the proverbial glue that kept film above water with their chilling performances. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great but the lackluster special features bring the overall score down just a tad. Don’t let that change your mind; Sweetwater is a pretty badass western!

Order Sweetwater on Blu-ray!

Sweetwater - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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