Search - Westender on DVD

Actors: Blake Stadel, Rob Simonsen, John Rankin, Darlene Dadras, Rod James
Director: Brock Morse
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
PG-13     2004     1hr 45min

Set in a fictitious medieval world, this Odyssey of one man's personal redemption is an entertaining and thought-provoking tale rife with swordplay, humor, intrigue, and fantasy. Blake Stadel stars as a legendary knight wh...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Blake Stadel, Rob Simonsen, John Rankin, Darlene Dadras, Rod James
Director: Brock Morse
Creators: Hans Hlawaty, Matt Molitor, Brock Morse, Ryan Honey, Jefferson O.S. Brassfield
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Drama, Fantasy
Studio: Lightyear Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 12/14/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

R. Snider | Key West, FL | 08/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"...WHERE HEROS ONCE STOOD, LONG SHADOWS HAVE FALLEN... That is on the cover of this DVD case and of the hundreds of DVD's that I own, this is now a personal favorite. I never heard of the film until I saw it in Sam Goody's and read the jacket. I took a chance on it and was very pleased. This is more inspiring than entertaining, more of a thinking man's film than a neatly spoon-fed plot where no mystery is left unexplained.

A hero, as highly regarded as any knight could hope to be, looses everything with the death of his love and sinks into the lowest of states in his depression. Nothing has any meaning anymore except the last symbol of his lost love in a material object, a ring lost in a drunken gamble. It is the thinest of straws for a drowning man to grasp but he sets out to recover it and along the way, recovers much more, his humanity, honor, and self respect.

I have always enjoyed this genre of film (medieval warrior films) and have many in my collection and have never been moved to write a review on any before but am complelled to do so by the narrow views taken by others here. Only a low budget film 'could' have focused on an inner struggle and not been overshadowed by special effects. The natural landscape and music more than make up for this. I even appreciated the ending with 'honor restored and life continues' without needed everything wrapped neatly into an ending. It has no end. It is a beginning with hope for all that is good to be set on the path once again.

My only main criticism was the mystical dog. Man does have a symbiotic relationship with that animal but this was either completely overdone (magical and appears when needed and does what is needed) or underdone (the relationship is not developed enough). It is a real film without action every second but the fight scenes seem more realistically timed throughout.

Great film. Bring your brain and enjoy the Oregon background and musical score while you are there. No matter how bad things get, there is always a chance and hope for redemtion of the goodness of the human spirit that you can find deep down within yourself (not relating to religion) and in us all, knights or otherwise."
If you can accept a few trouble's way worth it
Kim Tyler | 12/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I saw this movie on the suggestion of a friend and was amazed at the quality. Yeah, the script isn't stellar, but i don't think it needed to be. the movie is extremely powerful and moving in the way that it is shot and in the performance of the lead actor, who i belive to be the next big thing along with the director, Brock Morse, who i had the pleasure to meet. I think this is an excellent jumping off point for them both and one not to miss as i believe that we will be seeing much much more from both of these talented men"
One of the most promising directing debuts I've ever seen
Kim Tyler | 12/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As a wanna-be filmmaker myself I am always keeping tabs on low-budget (or "NO budget" as the case may be) independent films. When a new director comes onto the scene, I think it is always worth checking out their first film to see if they have potential to be a great filmmaker (the Coen brothers' "Blood Simple" and Robert Rodriguez's "El Mariachi" denotes just that). Thus, when the movie "Westender" played at a local arthouse theatre, I was interested to see it (my interest piqued even more by the fact that it was shot almost entirely in the beautiful state of Oregon, where I live, and the writer/director Brock Morse is from my resident town of Corvallis). Of course, having seen so many poor independent films in my time, I wasn't expecting very much. I was pleasantly surprised when the film turned out to be really quite good.

The movie takes place in a fantasy medieval time and chronicles the journey of a down-on-his-luck knight named Asbrey who goes in search of a precious ring he gambled away while in a drunken stupor. Along the way he meets a variety of characters including an eccentric old man who lives alone and imparts wisdom to the weary knight and a comical sidekick named Glim who starts out as a foe but becomes a friend. Since the dialogue is minimal, the story is told primarily through the images (which are stunning) and the spelndid music score (composed by Rob Simonsen who also plays Glim). The performances (particulary by lead actor Blake Stadel) are quite good as well.

Of course, the film is not perfect. Though it is only 103 minutes, it feels longer. I think another 10-12 minutes could have been trimmed off its running length without affecting the narrative. Also, on occasion the sound (which is typically the most lacking element of any independent film) is less than stellar. These shortcomings, however, are forgiveable and can, I think, be attributed simply to relative inexperience on the part of the filmmakers. I'm sure these aspects will be improved upon in their next feature.

Overall, "Westender" is an enjoyable cinematic experience and a very promising debut which should leave the viewer looking forward to future projects by its makers."
Beautiful Independent Film
Kim Tyler | 12/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I was reluctant to view this at first, as this is not generally the genre of film I like. However, after deciding to give it a try, I found myself mesmerized by the beautiful cinematography and memorable musical score. Although this is not a dialogue-driven film, it actually held my interest with the scenery of Oregon (could this beauty truly be in one state?) The lead actor, Blake Stadel, gives a good performance, truly making me feel his pain at times.

I gave this a good review as I feel there is a need for a true "art film" in the independent category. Although not a strong plot, it was beautifully directed and scored and I can't wait to see what these talented young film artists do for an encore."