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Non-Review Review: The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven is a western, pure and simple.

It is not a deconstruction. It is not a reconstruction. It is not filtered through the lense of postmodernism or through the prism of postcolonialism. It does not interrogate the underlying assumptions of the western, nor does it explore the relationship between the myth of the frontier and the brutal reality. From beginning to end, through and through, The Magnificent Seven is very much a straightforward execution of the familiar western tropes delivered with a minimum of irony or reflection.

"Ain't we magnificent?"

“Ain’t we magnificent?”

There is a certain charm to this. Director Antoine Fuqua takes great pleasure in running through the standard western tropes, particularly those epic tracking steadicam shots of riders galloping through acres of beautiful countryside as the theme music builds. There is a certain pleasure to be had in The Magnificent Seven as a film resistant to modernisation, a film content in the assumption that the language and iconography of the genre does not need to be tweaked or updated beyond the application of some computer-generated imagery and a modern cast.

There is also something deeply frustrating in all of this, something that reduces The Magnificent Seven to a rather lifeless collection of western imagery tied together in a fairly unimaginative way without anything particularly bold or exciting to say.

The sky's the limit.

The sky’s the limit.

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