The Ballad of Lefty Brown movie poster
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The Ballad of Lefty Brown
The Ballad of Lefty Brown movie poster

The Ballad of Lefty Brown Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

If you’ve never heard of The Ballad of Lefty Brown, it’s because there’s very little to remember. Bill Pullman delivers a strong if somewhat quaint performance as the title character—a rare lead role for the veteran actor. Sadly, the western, by writer/director Jared Moshe, doesn’t offer much reason to get into the saddle.

There isn’t a lot to object to in the movie, other than it’s all sort of pedestrian. Sure, the baby-faced Pullman is hidden behind grime, a bushy beard and a bit of a mumbly drawl, and the twisty-turvy story isn’t completely predictable, but this western brings nothing new to the genre, nor does its story exactly grab your attention.

Moshe scattershots the film with bursts of action, shootouts that are solid in the moment but largely unremarkable in the long run. Thanks to the limited excitement factor and a forgettable story that I already can’t recall just a few hours after watching the movie, The Ballad of Lefty Brown barrels along fast enough but never builds to a whole lot.

Westerns can be slow but boil into epic showdowns or other such conclusions, but Moshe goes the other direction, opting for an utterly dull and anticlimactic ending that makes the movie even less compelling to recommend than it was already. The ending is the weakest part of the movie, and if any film needed a strong ending, it’s The Ballad of Lefty Brown.

The way The Ballad of Lefty Brown is composed, you’d think that Moshe was going more for character drama than action western, but the end result falls somewhere in between—few of the characters, played by recognizable-but-certainly-not-A-grade actors, stand out, and the action never amounts to more than their sum. It’s not a bad movie, but also not a ballad worth repeating.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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