Taking advantage of August, as is the law, to catch up with series that I have not been able to see during the course, I have fallen in 1883, the first prequel (oh, what a horror of words, forgive me) of Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone. With the pull of the mother series, Sheridan himself composed two antecedents that enlarge and explain the cruel and pioneering world of the Dutton family. 1883 tells how the early Dutton came to Montana. There are ten episodes that should be made short, but I have two left and, like little kids, I keep asking Uncle Taylor how long until we get to the ranch.
There are many reasons why this caravan trip is taking me long, but the main one is that I have not been able to suspend disbelief. If both Sergio Leone and the masters of the so-called twilight western taught us anything, it is that the Wild West was, above all, filthy. In contrast to John Wayne’s unkempt jeans and gleaming spurs, a historical realism had filled the stories with grime, mud, rotten teeth, untrimmed beards, and tons of dust. But 1883 returns the western to the neat corner of its early years: it stars a blonde wench who could win the Pantene hair contest and has an affair with a young cowboy who just had his teeth fixed at the best dental clinic in Manhattan. Every time he smiles, he betrays his presence to Indians across the desert.
Sheridan has resurrected the western as a hugely popular genre, riding the wave of nationalist nostalgia sweeping the world. She has removed all the existentialist, intellectual, dense and symbolic residue that had accumulated since the Peckinpah films and sells it in a kitsch and soap opera version, like one of those seedless watermelons of today. An ideal trip for cheesy and scrupulous viewers.
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