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The Dead Don't Hurt

'The Dead Don't Hurt' (TIFF review)

burnsting burnsting Editor-in-chief Viggo Mortensen and Vicky Krieps star in Mortensen’s impressive second feature, a western that takes a romantic turn but also shows the harsh realities of the time.

Vivienne Le Coudy (Vicky Krieps) sells flowers on the market in 1860s San Francisco. She is being courted by a rich man. But as an independent woman she's not very interested.

When she meets the carpenter Holger (Viggo Mortensen) however, it's a different story. He's a simple man who wants a simple life. He finds them a quiet home outside of town. A home lacking the green garden Vivienne hoped for. But they can grow one themselves.

Holger and Vivienne have a good life. But Vivienne wants more for herself and applies for a job in the local saloon. Meanwhile, Holger decides to return to fight in the war, as it promises good pay.

Without outlining the whole story here, their separation proves a turning point in their lives. Especially for Vivienne, who we keep following as she deals with the harsh realities for women in the 1860s.

Viggo Mortensen directs 'The Dead Don't Hurt'
Viggo Mortensen directs 'The Dead Don't Hurt'

Mortensen proves his chops as a director, delivering a subtle and fine-tuned film, without giving himself all the glorious scenes.

Vicky Krieps, meanwhile, shows us a strong woman. Independent and dealing with facts that would be hard to deal with for anyone, even today.

'The Dead Don't Hurt' is a bit slow at times, and it could've been a bit less drawn out. But the whole journey still makes it worthwhile. The payoff we finally get is sweet. Though, with all that has happened before it, bittersweet might be a better word for it.

'The Dead Don't Hurt' had its world premiere at  #TIFF23 and doesn't have a release date yet.

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burnsting burnsting Editor-in-chief

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