Many directors end up saying that their great temptation is to end up making either a musical or a western. It is not difficult to see why, being classical genres with a very marked aesthetic that were dominant in full creative and commercial explosion of American cinema. how not to be tempted to try messing with their codeseither from pure reverence or as a vehicle to deal with modern themes.
The western is precisely one of the genres whose codes are more flexible and, far from what it may seem, they do not need to be linked to period production. However, many authors choose precisely to recover the gritty aesthetic to reference those classics. Sometimes to directly reframe them, as was done in ‘godless‘, one of those estimable lost gems in the Netflix catalog.
weapons for the people
The miniseries, made up of 7 episodes of variable duration -almost always over an hour-, shows us the threat of a terrifying bandit (Jeff Daniels), what ruthlessly attacks a region of the West to find his former protégénow turned into worst enemy (Jack O’Connell). This fugitive will find refuge in a ranch in New Mexico, mainly inhabited by widowed women, led by Michelle Dockery Y Merritt Weverwho have learned to be self-sufficient and defend themselves.
The operation of this commune and the development of these characters are elaborated with rigor and care by Scott Frankwhat take advantage of the archetypes of the genre to rethink themwhile maintaining certain aspects to give the work a certain timeless feel.
this way of reformulate genres without giving up the basis that makes them effective He already demonstrated it in his next project for Netflix, ‘Lady’s Gambit’, playing with the structure of the dramatic biopic. We could also see him with film noir in ‘Walking among the graves’, his remarkable thriller with Liam Neeson.
‘Godless’: between updating and rigorous fidelity
Frank writes and directs all the episodes, displaying total authorship but also serving as the key to the solidity that ‘Godless’ shows from start to finish. In addition to rigorous, the miniseries knows how to tell the relationships between characters carefully, giving good shape to their conflicts and their moments of connection. We also found a solidly executed action, giving a sense of production value that has little to envy a cinematographic effort -remember that this series is from 2017, we were not yet used to these levels-.
At the very least, this wonderful and formidable miniseries cemented the relationship between Scott Frank and Netflix, which would lead years later to the monumental success starring Anya Taylor-Joy. But ‘Godless’ offers more than that, thanks to its formidable feminist story, her remarkable cast, and the good balance it has between updating and maintaining a certain timeless charm of such a powerful genre. Now to see when the musical.