A movie review of “Jauja”: In this modern Western, Viggo Mortensen plays a 19th-century military man who faces obstacles while traveling to Patagonia. Star rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
If you applauded the genre-tweaking twists of Gus Van Sant’s “Gerry” and Kelly Reichardt’s “Meek’s Cutoff,” you may have a good time (or at least an interesting one) at acclaimed Argentine director Lisandro Alonso’s latest puzzler, “Jauja” (pronounced “how-ha”).
Or you may wonder what the heck is going on. All three are modern Westerns that challenge and undermine the conventions of what used to be called “oaters.”
Viggo Mortensen, who co-produced the film, also has the central role: Capt. Gunnar Dinesen, a 19th-century military man who travels to Patagonia. He’s supposed to take a job with the Argentine army, but obstacles keep turning up. Like his teenage daughter’s disappearance and the fate of indigenous peoples.
Movie Review ★★½
‘Jauja,’ with Viggo Mortensen, Ghita Norby. Directed by Lisandro Alonso, from a screenplay by Alonso and Fabian Casas. 108 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (includes violence). In Spanish and Danish, with English subtitles. Northwest Film Forum, through Thursday.
In a director’s statement, Alonso proposes that the film reflects “the time we live in, and how we vanish in order to inexplicably return, in utterly mysterious ways.”
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