Saddle up as Danish superstar Mads Mikkelsen takes on a retro ride of revenge.
Once upon a time in South Africa, the fictional town of Black Creek was created as the location for The Salvation (2014); a tale of identity and retribution in 1870s America. Set after the infamous and humiliating Second Schleswig War – as featured in Ole Bornedal’s recent exhilarating miniseries 1864 (2014) – we are get a terrifying glimpse of the horrors that befall Danish immigrant Jon Jensen (Mikkelsen). In an attempt to start a fresh new life for his family after seven years of being apart, Jon’s plans come to a tragic end at the hands of local criminals.
With his wife Marie (Danish singer Nanna Øland Fabricius) and son Kresten brutally murdered, Jon’s wrath unleashes a detrimental chain of events which pits him against menacing outlaw Henry Delarue (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), culminating in a bloody stand-off in true Western form. Caught in the middle of the epic battle is Jon’s brother Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), Mayor Nathan Keane (Jonathan Pryce), Sheriff Mallick (Douglas Henshall), Delarue’s ruthless henchman known as the ‘Corsican’ (Eric Cantona) and Delarue’s mute mistress Madelaine (Eva Green).
Dogme 95 filmmaker Kristian Levring and writer Anders Thomas Jensen bring together the theme of international identity and highlight how the globally recognised genre translates to both Scandinavian and English-language audiences: “Revenge is very universal but in Denmark we have this thing called the ‘Nordic Sagas’. They’re tales about Vikings and there is a lot of revenge in these stories that have a lot of the same darkness that Westerns ended up with as well as the same kind of simplicity.”
In the classic tone of Sergio Leone and Anthony Mann, The Salvation plays homage to the traditional Western movie tropes. The stylish cinematography and breath-taking landscapes offer a dramatically vivid representation of the journey to attain the elusive American Dream, rooted in a treacherous world.