The English Review

Westerns are one of my favorite genres. So when a new film or television show western pops up I am highly anticipating it for that reason. The English is a western done in conjunction with Amazon Prime Video and the BBC. So it has a British subtext to it that is a bit different from normal American westerns. With Emily Blunt being attached to it as a star, it becomes a series that I now have very high expectations for.

Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt) is a woman who lives a nice life in England when a tragedy happens in her life. This makes her leave the idyllic life she had in England behind to go to America to seek out this man and get revenge. Along the way, she meets a Native American from the Pawnee tribe but he’s currently a soldier in the service of the North during the Civil War in the late 1800s. Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer) has his own story and reasons for coming along for the ride if you will with Blunt’s character. They get into quite a bit of trouble during their travels.

This show from showrunner and director Hugo Blick has a lot of moving parts to it. It goes back in time from the main timeline of 1890 fifteen years and forwards in time to around 1900. It has a few groups of characters besides the two main characters. The show’s main characters run into some unsavory characters including Timothy Flynn (Miguel Alverez), he is another soldier who is on the hunt for Native Americans and rogue soldiers. Rafe Spall (Life of Pi) plays a man who steals money from another and uses it to start his own town. He’s a shady character, to say the least. Stephen Rae plays a marshal who gets caught up in all the mayhem that ensues regarding the other characters.

Along with these semi-main characters, there are a couple of cameos of well-known actors in the film. Blink and you’ll miss him Toby Jones and as another bad guy who gets what is coming to him, Ciaran Hinds. Both were in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy together. The cast as a whole has a lot of very good performances including some newer actors I wasn’t very familiar with. Blick surrounded himself with a lot of great actors and they all were fantastic in their various roles including the two main stars.

I’ve talked enough about the acting so now let’s talk about the cinematography of the series. It is set in the western plants and Colorado and these areas were filmed beautifully, by Arnau Valls Colomer. He captures the landscape perfectly via vistas or while characters are riding horses over hills and plains. This is one of the best-looking shows I’ve seen this year bar none. I wished all the shows I watched looked this good. 

Brick created a series with a few things going for it, the title of The English notwithstanding. The story was very engaging and I was completely invested in the journey of Blunt and Spencer’s characters. The supporting cast was fun to watch as well. As far as westerns go this one wasn’t bad. It kept me interested from beginning to end. I really cared about what happened to the stars. I am a sucker for a good western and this was another one I can say was worth my time. Hopefully, audiences will catch it on Amazon Prime Video this November. It’s worth a watch.

4 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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