“The Homesman” is Tommy Lee Jones second film as a director. This Western tells the story of Mary Bee Cuddie (Hilary Swank), an unmarried farmer who is a loner and whose farm is in the dust bowl of Nebraska.

When three local woman lose their senses Mary Bee agrees to take them by wagon from Nebraska to Iowa, a journey of many months.

Before she sets off she stumbles across George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) who has a noose around his neck and about to hang from a tree, Briggs it seems has been the victim of a lynch mob who have tied him up after he jumped the claim belonging to another farmer. Before Mary Bee cuts him down she makes him agree to escort her and the three woman on their journey to Iowa, where the local minister has arranged a home for them.

“The Homesman” shows all the brutality of the west as the pair, on their journey, have to not only to deal with the worst that nature can throw at them but also Indians and thieves.

This is not your cowboys and Indians action western but a story as slow as the journey that Mary Bee and Briggs have to take themselves. For two thirds of the film it's is compellingly gripping as the two become companions and fight to survive and care for three "passengers". It's in the final third where “The Homesman” loses the plot as the story takes a turning that appears to come from nowhere. This change in direction upsets the flow of the movie, leaving the viewer to scratch their head wondering, why the event that they've just witnessed happen as it makes no sense in the narrative of what’s went before.

Swank and Jones are excellent as always and there's cameos from other well-known faces. “The Homesman” started so well but in the end it just doesn't make any sense.



The Homesman (15)

Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Starring: Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, John Lithgow, Meryl Streep


UK Release: Friday 21st November 2014

www.thehomesman.com