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Deadwood: the movie review

PUBLISHED: 13:15 13 June 2019

Deadwood the film is coming to a town near you PICTURE: IMDb

Deadwood the film is coming to a town near you PICTURE: IMDb

Deadwood the film PICTURE: IMDb

Mark Goodin reviews the film resurrected from the Deadwood television series

It has been 12 years since David Milch's masterful, profanity-strewn Western was abruptly cancelled after its third season. Despite numerous reports and talks of the series return it seemed, for a time at least, that the third season was the last we would see of the town and its characters. Thankfully, this proved not to be the case and with this feature length film Milch and director Daniel Minahan have delivered the fitting, poignant end those characters deserve.

Set in 1889, past and present inhabitants of the town reunite to celebrate South Dakota's impending statehood. When corrupt Senator George Hearst (Gerald McRaney) returns, it falls to saloon owner Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) and Marshal Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) to ensure his malicious deeds do not go unpunished.

As with the series before it, the film luxuriates in the close, often volatile relationships and foul-mouthed diatribes between characters old and new as they cope with and in some cases fight against the changing times. It is a pleasure to be back in their company again; perhaps none more so than McShane's ailing, charismatic, Mephistophelian figure.

The actor remains Deadwood's most valuable player, imbuing the character with the same caustic wit, fragility and deviousness that made him such a scene-stealing delight all those years ago. Olyphant is also excellent as the honourable Bullock and McRaney is a wonderfully hateful, antagonistic presence.

The biggest praise, however must be given to Milch who has constructed a powerful, elegiac final chapter to his magnificent series.

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