At the turn of the last century, two brothers fall in love with the same woman. When she chooses the younger of the two, the embittered older brother travels to Europe where he becomes a reuthless mercenary, but the revolution soon takes a personal twist
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Mortality and graphic slaughter are central to Macedonian director Milcho Manchevski's first film since 1994's Before the Rain. In modern New York a young man, Edge (Adrian Lester), breaks into an apartment inhabited by old lady Angela (Rosemary Murphy), who then tells him a story at gunpoint. In Angela's surreally symbolic tale, set around 1905, there are two feuding brothers: gunfighter Luke (David Wenham) becomes a bounty hunter in Macedonia; Bible-quoting, vengeance-seeking Elijah (Joseph Fiennes) follows, and hell goes with him. Dust is part contemporary drama, part spaghetti Western homage--with the Ottoman Empire forces standing in for the Mexican army--and all meditation on the nature of cinematic myth-making. The performances are variable, but a plethora of movie references, particularly to various Sergio Leone films, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Wild Bunch, combine in a stylish and provocative fable that bears comparison with The Usual Suspects and Sex and Lucia. It also echoes Ararat (2002), in which a production crew makes a film about the 1915-18 Turkish genocide of the Armenians. Taken at face value the plot stretches credibility, but as a reflection on the nature of storytelling, Dust is an ingenious concoction. --Gary S. Dalkin
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