First Cow (2019) Movie Review


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Withstand the first 30 minutes, you will see a gorgeous movie of the year, so far

Premise: First Cow (2019) is a slow-paced drama movie sets in the 1820s. Story of a skilled cook named Figowitz (John Magaro); everyone calls him Cookie. He voyages with a group of fur trappers. Cookie doesn’t gets along with crew members because of his quiet nature. One night Cookie saves King-Lu (Orion Lee), a Chinese male from the Russians, by sheltering king lu in his tent. after some days, In a bar, Cookie listens about the first cow in territory owned by the chief factor. And meet King Lu again, they both spend days together with pleasant conversation, both genuinely become friends. Cookie and Lu both were sick and tired of surviving their life, both dreams of being rich. One night Lu and Cookie steal cow milk to bake oily cakes. Lu says it tastes better than any food he had. They started to sell them, it gets instantly popular in the territory. Both make many oily cakes by stealing cows milk at night and selling in the day. The plan was to go to San Francisco to start a bakery after getting enough money.

Review: The movie begins with a fantastic guitar and mandolin music with an aspect ratio of 4:3. The musical score is soothingly pleasant well suits for its slow-paced film. From the start, First Cow takes us into a unique, beautiful journey. With the usage of vivid colors, the greenery of the forest, the movie looks gorgeous. Camera work Is astonishing. The place settings, from tents to small items and custom designs, recreated the past. With all the painterly work sets to the camera, the first Cow may be the best looking movie of the year.

The First Cow is a light-hearted, simple plot of two strangers bonds together with friendship. They support each other in their entrepreneurial business. With minimal story and excellent character study of Lu and Cookie, writer Jonathan Raymond excellently balanced the screenplay (based upon the novel “The Half-Life” ). The characters look so real with John Magaro and Orion Lee’s subtle performance with minimal dialogue.

Creative director Kelly Reichardt beautifully crafted the First Cow movie; it is captivating uniquely refreshing. This movie is the best work of Kelly in her 25 years filmmaking career.

Note: For some impatient viewers, this film might be incredibly dull because of slow-paced drama. So watch the trailer to know what you are getting into.

Cons: The night scenes are a bit of a second class. Some scenes could have trimmed in the first 30 minutes.

Conclusion: First Cow (2019) is a more than a simple story, a well made, well performed, well written, aesthetic movie I’ve seen this year so far. My rating 7.5/10.

The movie premiered in 2019 September at a film festival, but It was theatrically released on March afterward released on VOD platforms in July 2020 due to pandemic.

Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones
Genre: Drama


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