Writer/Director Michael Polish has created an intriguing ten-episode series that’s modern Western with a philosophical edge that made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
There is a lead character surrounded by death. Revenge. Pistols. Blood. The whole piece exists as a visual representation of a quote from “Once Upon a Time in America”, “People like that have something inside… something to do with death.” “Bring on the Dancing Horses” is about a female assassin (a modern-day “Man with No Name”). Kate Bosworth, who is married to Polish in real life, is in the starring role as the killer. Bosworth has long seemed to be a good actress searching for the right material. I firmly believe that this project is the role that the actress has been waiting for.
Appearing in a black duster and a wide-brimmed black cowboy hat (more of a Zorro-esque brim), Bosworth’s character speaks softly and directly as she engages her targets in their final moments, letting them reflect.
She does not lie nor sugarcoat her victims’ situations but isn’t harsh, either. She calmly explains to each person that she is “here to help with their transition.” Each one knows why she is there. Few want to accept their fate.
SCREEN COMMENT is at Sundance 2022
The first episode deals with Bosworth’s character making her way through towns that exist under grey Montana skies, appearing like a lone rider coming out of the distance “High Plains Drifter”-style, who has come to collect her blood bounty. For each target, Bosworth’s assassin shows great patience, giving some a chance to try and relax (as much as one could). There is to be no way out for these doomed folk, but if they have the right attitude, their killer will allow them a peace.
Though Polish’s screenplay (co-written with Michael Hamblin) may feel random in its presentation and laying out of the events, it is all connected, and Bosworth’s lead character is the link.
There is a quiet, esoteric feel to “Dancing.” Francisco Bulgarelli and Ryan Spacone’s cinematography is bleakly enticing, the filmmakers let the scenery fuel the moment. The drama is “in the winds” as the assassin blows into her targets.
Giving the Sundance Film Festival a great opening day beginning, “Bring on the Dancing Horses” is screening its first episode in the Indie Episodic section of the festival, as Polish is searching for a buyer for the show. I am looking forward to seeing where this one goes, as it is a solid tale told well.