The Lonesome Trail (2022) Film Review- Armessa Movie News

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Western Christian family film The Lonesome Trail tells a story that never feels necessary. But it could be a breath of fresh air for a specific population of viewers. It’s a film that never denies what it actually aims to be. It’s a noteworthy aspect that isn’t very common in the halls of indie cinema. 

Unfortunately, the film also feels like it traps its own story in a continuous attempt at self-righteousness and moral adjustments. The Lonesome Trail is tiresome and overlong. It delves into some Christian messages that feel relevant, but that channel gets worn out after a few iterations of forcing us to witness good in a man who we already know is good. Iterations are almost never needed.

In the film, a preacher arrives at a town that’s dominated by a cattle baron. He terrorizes everyone in town. The preacher seems to be the only one who’s willing to face him and his evil views. When the preacher extends his hands to those who are willing under the terror of the evil man, things start changing.

After a few scenes of emotional growth, and characters being established, the film could take off and develop the core of its story, but director Arlette Thomas-Fletcher (the first African American woman to write, produce, direct and executive produce a western movie) spends too much developing the film’s setting.

However, it happens. At some point it does. When The Lonesome Trail reveals its dramatic path, it becomes more interesting than before. With well performed antagonists, the film does enough to make us turn our heads and look into its heart. It’s a little bit innocent at times, but even in Christian films evil has a presence and it must matter. In this one, it does. Sort of.

As viewers, some of us are able to observe production design and its flaws. And it’s pretty clear Thomas-Fletchers comes from the world of theater, but why does The Lonesome Trail look like an amateurish painting sometimes? Are her origins reasons enough for the film to feel fake at some point? She can hold the story together even with lousy performances, but in modern times art direction should never feel this secondary. Oh and acting coaches are always welcome in sets.

At least The Lonesome Trail never feels void of spirit. Again, this is a film made for a specific population that sees beyond what’s clear from a first look. Beyond cardboard sets, and amateurish performances. In that regard, it’s what a story holds that actually matters. In the very emotional center of The Lonesome Trail, there’s enough to make us have a discussion. The question is, who’s willing to do it?

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of the OFCS. RT Certified Critic

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– Armessa Movie News

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