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Seraphim Falls is a 2006 American revisionist Western film directed by television producer and director David Von Ancken in his only feature film. The storyline was conceived from a screenplay written by Von Ancken and Abby Everett Jaques. The fictional story focuses on a bounty hunt for a Union soldier by a Confederate colonel following the American Civil War in the late 1860s. Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Michael Wincott, Tom Noonan, and Ed Lauter star in principal roles. Seraphim Falls explores civil topics, such as violence, human survival and war.
The film was produced by the motion picture studio of Icon Productions. It was commercially distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Destination Films theatrically, and by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for home media. The film score was composed by musician Harry Gregson-Williams, although a soundtrack version for the motion picture was not released to the public.
Seraphim Falls premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and was released to theatres in limited release in the United States on January 26, 2007, grossing $418,296 in domestic ticket sales. It earned an additional $801,762 in box office business overseas for a combined worldwide total of $1,220,058 in revenue. The film generally received positive critical reviews before its initial screening in cinemas.
Notable similarities have been found between the film and the 1976 revisionist western, The Outlaw Josey Wales directed by Clint Eastwood.
In 1868, within the Ruby Mountains, Gideon roasts hare over an open fire. Suddenly, gunshots ring out with one striking his left arm. He grabs what he can and races down the mountain. His attackers emerge from their cover to inspect his campsite. Colonel Morsman Carver, a former Confederate officer, is accompanied by Pope, Hayes, Parsons and the Kid, who are all engaged in a bounty operation to apprehend him.
After removing the bullet from his arm with his hunting knife at a secluded location, Gideon leaves an open fire burning, which attracts the posse. He ends up killing Pope with his knife and then ventures out again into the wilderness. He attempts to steal a horse, but is caught by a young woman named Charlotte who helps him after she realises he is injured. She dresses his wound and her family let him sleep overnight in their farmhouse. He later offers to buy their horse and leaves before daybreak. As the group of men approach Gideon s trail, he lays an ambush using a bear trap which impales the Kid, who is then shot by Carver as an act of mercy. Later, Parsons decides to leave the other men following the discovery of a dead bank robber, whom Gideon had killed earlier in an act of self-defence and whose bounty money exceeds Gideon s. As Parsons is preparing to load the dead body to take to Carson City for the reward money, Carver shoots the horse – which he declares is his – leaving Parsons to walk the 30 miles back to town carrying the body.
Coming across a railroad under construction, Gideon hitches his horse and steals some food. The foreman recognises the horse as stolen and detains Gideon. Carver and his remaining man, Hayes, also reach the railroad site and search for Gideon. Meanwhile, he escapes from custody and makes off with another horse. As Carver and Hayes draw closer, Gideon s horse can no longer take the strain of the heat and collapses. Gideon euthanises the horse with his knife. When Carver and Hayes finally reach the horse s carcass, Hayes dismounts and marvels at what type of an animal would disembowel the creature. Suddenly Gideon leaps out from the horse s belly, where he had been hiding, and grabs Hayes, threatening to kill him if Carver doesn t give up his gun. Carver instead shoots Hayes with his last bullet. Confronting each other, Carver and Gideon recall the events that put them at odds. After the end of the American Civil War, Gideon was ordered to track down former Confederate officers. When he arrived at Carver s home in Seraphim Falls to interrogate him, Carver was out in a nearby field. To coerce Carver s wife into revealing his whereabouts, and believing that their house was empty, Gideon orders their barn to be set on fire. The blaze quickly spreads to the house, as Carver returns from the cropland. While the soldiers restrain him, his wife and son run inside the house to save their infant child who is still in a bedroom. Both men look on with horror at the unfolding tragedy; trapped by the flames, Carver s wife and children perish. Gideon, racked with guilt over the tragedy, is seen dropping his gunbelt and walking away from his men.
The two men fight, Gideon eventually getting the better of Carver. He points Carver in the direction of a town and tells him that he will get nothing but torment if he continues his pursuit. Gideon takes the horses ridden by Carver and Hayes and sets off deeper into the countryside. When Carver later catches up with Gideon, both men are on the brink of exhaustion. They confront each other again with their pistols. Gideon shoots Carver in the side but, instead of finishing him off, he offers himself to Carver. Carver decides not to shoot him and throws his pistol aside. Gideon helps Carver to his feet and the two men walk into the distance away from each other. As a final gesture Gideon abandons his knife (his primary tool throughout the film), throwing it into the ground.
- Liam Neeson as Colonel Morsman Carver: Like Brosnan, Neeson described being kind of steeped in that western mythology growing up in Ireland. He likened his character, Carver, to Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick, he s totally governed by this idea of revenge where he’s practically lost his humanity.
- Pierce Brosnan as Gideon: The role was originally to be played by Richard Gere but after he dropped out, Pierce Brosnan replaced him. Brosnan spoke of his love of Western films during production and promotion of Seraphim Falls, which had stemmed from watching them as a child in Ireland.
- Michael Wincott as Hayes
- Xander Berkeley as McKenzy, a railway foreman.
- Ed Lauter as Parsons
- Tom Noonan as Minister Abraham
- Kevin J. O Connor as Henry
- John Robinson as Kid
- Anjelica Huston as Madame Louise, a vanishing con artist (and possible religious allegory), who figures in the end of the film. Huston first joined the cast in November 2005.
- Angie Harmon as Rose
- Robert Baker as Pope
- Wes Studi as Charon
- Jimmi Simpson as Big Brother
- James Jordan as Little Brother
- Nate Mooney as Cousin Bill
- Shannon Zeller as Charlotte
- Adon Cravens as Nathaniel
- Boots Southerland as Tall Henchman
David Von Ancken first researched the script for six months before joining Abby Everett Jaques to create the screenplay. The film was originally announced at the Cannes Film Festival with Liam Neeson and Richard Gere in the lead roles. Gere dropped out in August 2005 and was soon replaced by Pierce Brosnan. Shooting on Seraphim Falls started on October 17, 2005 and actress Anjelica Huston later joined the cast the following November. The film was filmed on location for 48 days, primarily in New Mexico; some of the opening scenes were filmed along the McKenzie River in Oregon.
Oscar-winning cinematographer John Toll was responsible for cinematography work on the film. Toll later noted it was a great opportunity to work with a director who was interested in visual storytelling.
The soundtrack, composed by Harry Gregson-Williams, was produced at Bastyr University s chapel in Kenmore, Washington. Gregson-Williams wrote the music in three or four weeks, describing it as very atmospheric . However, a CD soundtrack version of the film s score was never released to the public. The sound effects in the film were supervised by Kami Asgar. The mixing of the sound elements were orchestrated by William Sarokin and mastered by Steve Maslow.
The film premiered in cinemas on January 26, 2007, in limited release throughout the U.S.. During its opening weekend, the film opened in a distant 42nd place grossing $155,560 in business showing at 52 locations. The comedy film, Epic Movie came in first place during that weekend grossing $18,612,544. The film s revenue dropped by 49% in its second week of release, earning $79,181. For that particular weekend, the film fell to 48th place screening in 48 theaters. The film The Messengers, unseated Epic Movie to open in first place grossing $14,713,321 in box office revenue. During its final weekend in release, Seraphim Falls opened in 73rd place with $10,526 in revenue. The film went on to top out domestically at $418,296 in total ticket sales through a 6-week theatrical run. Internationally, the film took in an additional $801,762 in box office business for a combined worldwide total of $1,220,058. For 2007 as a whole, the film would cumulatively rank at a box office performance position of 276.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 55%, based on reviews from 85 critics, with an average score of 5.7 out of 10. The website s consensus reads, A brutal, slow-moving drama that unfolds among some great-looking scenery. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 62 out of 100, based on 21 reviews, indicating generally favorable reviews .
Neeson, who has more presence doing nothing than most actors do playing Hamlet, gives Carver hints of a psycho drive beneath his righteous scowl.
—Owen Gleiberman, writing in Entertainment Weekly
Claudia Puig writing for USA Today thought the film was a psychological drama with an intriguing ambiguity that challenges the viewer s loyalties and preconceived notions. Stephen Holden writing in The New York Times applauded the visuals, saying Its strongest element is the austere majesty of the cinematography by John Toll ( Braveheart, Legends of the Fall, The Thin Red Line ), in which the severe beauty of the Western landscape looms over the characters as a silent rebuke. Writing for The Austin Chronicle, Josh Rosenblatt viewed it as Meditative, beautifully shot, and blessed with a healthy dose of cynicism and a morality play without the morality and a Western Purgatorio that, in the end, demands its protagonists resign themselves to their loneliness and brutality and avail themselves of the redemptive power of sheer exhaustion. Author Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out commented it has all the good looks of its wintry Oregon locales, not to mention the equally craggy faces of Liam Neeson and a grizzled-up Pierce Brosnan, embroiled in a Fugitive-like pursuit with the latter on the run. Peter Rainer of The Christian Science Monitor called it essentially one long, bleak stalk-and-kill action thriller , adding The film functions as a kind of survivalists guide, and there s a morbid pleasure in seeing how Gideon extricates himself from one impossible situation after another.
When actors of Neeson and Brosnan s quality stoop to material so obviously beneath them, a lashing at least might be in order.
—Ruthe Stein, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle
In a mixed review, Christy Lemire mused about the lead characters: Their climactic confrontation is visually arresting in its starkness. But as an anti-war statement, a call to lay down arms that s clearly intended to be relevant today, it s a bit too clunky in its literalism. She ultimately found the film to be technically solid but a dramatically unremarkable Western . Todd McCarthy of Variety believed the film was nothing rousing or new and that Brosnan and Neeson wouldn t be enough to muster more than modest theatrical B.O. for this very physical but familiar oater , but praised the cinematography, noting Toll s work, which emphasizes the blues and greens of the forests, is always a pleasure to behold . Kevin Crust of the Los Angeles Times was critical of the ending: A beautifully shot chase film it moves along with minimalist efficiency before running out of gas during an overlong allegorical final section. Columnist Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal noted, things take a turn from simplicity to sententiousness, then to surreal silliness, and finally to a mano-à-mano contest, on a parched desert floor, over which man gets the best close-ups.
Following its cinematic release in 2007, Seraphim Falls received a nomination from the Gotham Awards for the Breakthrough Director Award. In 2008, the film won the Best Specialty Stunt award from the Taurus World Stunt Awards for Mark Vanselow and Craig Hosking.
The film was released on DVD in the United States on May 15, 2007. Currently, there are several European Blu-ray releases of the film, although it is also available in other media formats such as video on demand.
|Plot||After the end of the American Civil War, a former Confederate colonel hunts down a former Yankee officer with whom he has a grudge.|
|Awards||Awards, 1 win & 1 nomination|
|Directors||David Von Ancken|
|Writers||David Von Ancken, Abby Everett Jaques|
|Stars||Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Anjelica Huston|
|Produced by||Bruce Davey, David Flynn, John Limotte, Stan Wlodkowski|
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Cinematography by||John Toll|
|Film Editing by||Conrad Buff IV|
|Casting By||Mali Finn|
|Production Design by||Michael Z. Hanan|
|Art Direction by||Guy Barnes|
|Set Decoration by||Wendy Ozols-Barnes|
|Costume Design by||Deborah L. Scott|
|Makeup Department||Sara Bozik, Gretchen Bright, Jessie Brown, Tarra D. Day, Rich Knight, Aaron Koons, Mary Hedges Lampert, Karen McDonald, Yvette Meely, Matthew W. Mungle, Rick Provenzano, Glenn Pulliam, Bron Roylance, Christina Smith, Sheila Trujillo, Clinton Wayne|
|Production Management||Mads Hansen, Sarah Kanafani, Rajeev Malhotra, Stan Wlodkowski, Bill Wohlken|
|Second Unit Director or Assistant Director||Ellen M. Hillers, Chemen Ochoa, Kaaren F. Ochoa, Philip A. Patterson, Reynaldo Villalobos|
|Art Department||Timothy Abreu, Jamie Archer, Ulrike Auer-Erdoes, Jeffrey G Baca, Mark Bankins, Rick Belosic, Stephen Bloch, Alex Bracht, Benjamin Joseph Bustos, James W. Center, Thomas Chapman, Sean Craycraft, Jason Critchfield, Cliff C. Crouch, Michael T. Daigle, Jason Delap, Christopher Dowling, James Duddy, Gary Eilar, Dan Fitzgerald, Jay Foley, Bobbi Jo Gonzales, Linda R. Gore, Miguel Gurule, Mike Hanrahan, Thomas Hanrahan, Paul Harman, Stephen Hoeger, Paul R. Jaramillo, Mark David Kersey, Steve Khan, Patricia Klawonn, George Kruft, Johnny Long, Michael Longueira, Amahl Lovato, Sean McCormick, Sean McCormick, Tim McCulloch, Edward McLoughlin, Kevin Miller, Cee Moravec, Robert Mothershead, Robbie Mueller, Jose I. Mwendoza, Scott Nifong, Robert Ortega, Chris Painter, Gary Petersen, Scott Plunket, Ron Rexroat, Jorge Reyes, Eric Gallegos Ruvalcaba, Ian Scroggins, Liv Selinger, Bryan Stinson, Jeff Strom, Steven Sutphen, Andrew Trujillo, Skip Whitson, Caylen Johnson|
|Sound Department||Kami Asgar, Michael J. Benavente, Richard Branca, David Brownlow, Anita Cannella, Benjamin L. Cook, Carlos Delarios, Cole Gittinger, Jonathan Golodner, Scott G.G. Haller, Frederick Howard, Amy Kane, Howard London, Steve Maslow, Herwig Maurer, Sean McCormack, Carmine Rubino, William Sarokin, Rich Tavtigian, Tim Tuchrello, James Wright, Gordon Sproule|
|Special Effects by||Peter Chesney Jr., Peter Chesney, Kyle Collingsworth, Scott Hastings, Joel Hobbie, Timothy R. Hoffman, Markus Maurette, Jose I. Mendoza, Randy E. Moore, Brett A. Myrick, Stein Rosburg, Kai Shelton, Sandra Stewart, Duprelon Tizdale, William Boggs, Charles A. Carlsen, Tom Chesney, Sage Emmett Connell, Blair Foord, Margaret Johnson, Aaron Matthews, Jason Prentice, Carly Sertic|
|Visual Effects by||Jose Arrendondo, Michael Bogen, Kiley Bond, John Campuzano, Marc Canas, Andrea Caretta, Jennifer Chantnicki, Susan Crew, Alan De Castro, Gilbert De La Garza, Eric Deinzer, Scott Evans, Larry Flynn, Travis Flynn, Mark Freund, Joe Gareri, David Geoghegan, Bruno George, Mike Glickman, Lauren Gyarmati, Brian Hanable, Landis Hartman, Maureen Healy, Benita Hennessay, Duane Hlavka, Phillip Hoffman, Patrick Keenan, Travis Kelly, Patric Kenly, Bill Kent, Richard Lieu, Jonathan Mecenas, Matt Melis, David Miller, David R. Miller, Mike Millett, Rodney Montague, Robert Montgomery, Nichole Moraila, Josh Mossotti, Danny Mudgett, Brian Nogle, Jim O Hagan, Patrick Phillips, Dolores Pope, Kenny Price, Chris Pullman, Scott Purdy, Orson Rheinfurth, Ana Ricabal, James Rim, Lorena Rivera, Brent Rodin, Greg Rodin, Jared Ross, Marc Ross, Matt Seckman, Luke Slendebroek, John Solis, Ray Tocchio, Antonio Torres, Andy Tran, Bob Wiatr, Francis Yu|
|Stunts||John Arbuckle, Tom Berto, Steve Blalock, Kyle Bramwell, Craig Branham, Ken Clark, Bud Davis, Danny Edmo, Ramon Frank, Rene H. Herrera, Craig Hosking, Craig Jensen, Michael Pugita Kobayashi, Alex Krimm, Brett A. Myrick, Willie Richardson, Luke Schalla, Dennis Scott, Monica Staggs, Mark Vanselow, Ken Clark, Ramon Frank, Rene H. Herrera, Carlos A. Montoya, Mark Vanselow|
|Camera and Electrical Department||Dustin Ault, Herb Ault, John Banholzer, Bradley Barnes, Nick Barros, Jeff Bettis, Theodore Y. Bott, Clyde E. Bryan, Glenn Cannon, Jon Caradies, Beau Chaput, Michael A. Chavez, Tim Christie, Jacob Cottrell, Tulio Duenas, Ed Duran, Tobin Espeset, Michael Ferris, Paul J. Giacalone, Steven A. Guerrero, Dale Holmen, Ned Martin, Daniel Moder, Ray Ortega, Jeff Pelton, Billy Pierson, Brooks Robinson, Lorey Sebastian, Michael Shanman, Nick Shuster, Josh Steinberg, George Stephenson, Skyler Tegland, Chris Toll, Mark Tomlinson, James R. Tynes, Alexis van Kersen Li, Joe Vitellaro, Michael Warren, James WilderHancock, Marcia Woske, Chip Byrd, Jesse Olivares|
|Animation Department||Joseph Francis, Johannes Huber, Josh Mossotti, Lee Nelson, Matthew Scott Weiner|
|Casting Department||Lauren Bass, Eleanor Bravo, Kate Carlin, Elizabeth Gabel, Lewis Liu, Elizabeth Shoai, Steven Raye Stanard|
|Costume and Wardrobe Department||Pilar Agoyo, Birgitta Bjerke, Nancy Collini, Kathryn J. Czark, John Deering, Daniel Dirks, Muto-Little, Maureen O Heron, Lahly Poore, Paula Rogers, Cathy Smith, Thao T. Vu|
|Editorial Department||Daniel Boccoli, Eduardo Cisneros, Carol A. Ellison Fleming, Ken Gales, Fergus Hally, Michael Hatzer, Carole A. Kenneally, Sean Lawrence, Dawn Llewellyn, Robert Raring, Alex Renskoff, Amy Tompkins|
|Location Management||Michael Dellheim, Don Gray, Michael Lovato, Rowan Stanland|
|Music Department||Stephen Barton, Kirk Bennett, Doug Bernheim, Budd Carr, Halli Cauthery, Toby Chu, John Evans, Josh Evans, Nora Felder, Meri Gavin, Harry Gregson-Williams, Ray Holmes, Simon James, Costa Kotselas, Kory Kruckenberg, Jamie Luker, Malcolm Luker, Hugh Marsh, Gretchen O Neal, Robert Puff, David Sabee, Jon Schluckebier, Jim Taylor, Michael White, Richard Whitfield, John Winters, Chandra Cogburn, Kevin Crehan|
|Script and Continuity Department||Joanna Kennedy|
|Transportation Department||James Allen, Dan Berryman, Thomas W. Boroski, Charley Bob Burnham, Al Cantu, Peter R. Chittell, Allan Esquibel, Troy Esquibel, James Foley, Joseph Gonzales, Jerry King, Reggie Maestas, Melissa Malcom, Larry Martinez, Mark Masters, Jared Meador, Steve Meador, Dan Miller, Damian Montoya, Kino Quintana, James William Ray, Eric Rivera, Consuela Schmidt, Bonnie Seltzer, Lee Stepp, David Themis, Kip Wolverton, Gary Jackson, William McShane|
|Additional Crew||Doug Acton, James Augare, Paul Baca, Jaclyn Bashoff, Alan Berger, Tom Berto, David Bethel, Kyle Bramwell, Compton Brodhead, Reggie Cantu, Tim Carlson, Tim Carroll, Jordan Charter, Vicki Christianson, Nicola Conlon, Rob Corlew, Martin Devis, Edan Didak, Jessica Drake, Amy Eldridge, Jennifer Gingery, Peter Grendle, J.R. Hawbaker, Amy Hawkins, Henry Herman, Eric Hodges, Scott Hussion, Anne Johns, Harriet Katz-Stevens, Lise Landeau, Jim Lau, Denis Leconte, Alvin William Dutch Lunak, Jennifer Mancuso, Carmen Matthews, Deanne May, Christos Michaels, David Miercort, Kerry Newberry, Brian Niemczyk, Blaise Noto, Dale O Malley, Reid Overstreet, Jared Parsons, Alexander D. Paul, Ann Penny, Leslie Pincus, John Radcliff, Irwin M. Rappaport, Willie Richardson, M. Ross-Michaels, Valerie Schneider, Rebecca Stover, Faith Strongheart, Amy Tillman, Greg Van der Veer, Lisa Vanallen, Luca Ward, Bonnie F. Watkins, Cristie Schoen Codd, Carlos A. Montoya, Aimie Olson|
|Genres||Action, Drama, Thriller|
|Keywords||man with no name,final showdown,gore,bare chested male,dream|