THE DEAD DON’T HURT – A Review by John Strange

THE DEAD DON’T HURT – A Review by John Strange

Westerns are special to me.  The Dead Don’t Hurt is a western written, directed, and starring Viggo Mortensen.  When I heard about this film, it intrigued me. 

In recent years, I have seen several indie film westerns.  Like their studio counterparts, the plots and overall storylines have ranged from comedies to action films.  Some of them are “shoot-em-ups” while others are run more to cerebral plots.

The best films combine some or all of these aspects.  The Dead Din’t Hurt is an indie film that is cerebral with a light mix of action. 

It starts and ends near the same time in the film’s timeline, the death of Vivienne Le Coudy (Vicky Krieps), the wife of Holger Olsen (Viggo Mortensen).

This is the story of a man who goes to San Francisco to find a wife.  When he meets Vivienne, you can tell he knows he has found her.  The home he brings her to is… extra rustic.  Vivienne describes it as a looking like a bandit hide-out.

The central plot was pretty good, but there are clichéd characters that detracted from my enjoyment of the film.  This is sad because the landscape of the main action scenes of the film, the house and the hills, were good.

The town mayor/banker Rudolph Schiller (Danny Huston), the rich a-hole Alfred Jeffries (Garret Dillahunt), and the a-hole’s psycho son Weston (Solly McLeod) are very distinct bad guys who crowd the line of cliché. 

I want Viggo to write more screenplays.  His quiet every man characters slot beautifully into this type of story.  I just hope he works a bit hard on the villains.

Danny Huston and Garret Dillahunt as the mayor and town rich a-hole do a decent job with what they were given but it was just not enough for me.

Vicky Krieps is a Luxembourgish actress with a much larger IMDb credit than I expected.  She does an amazing job in her role as Vivienne.  It’s no wonder she had top billing.

As much as I wanted to love the film, I feel like this is a 3-star film.


Director: Viggo Mortensen

Cast: Vicky Krieps, Viggo Mortensen, Garret Dillahunt, Solly McLeod, W. Earl Brown, Danny Huston, Shane Graham, Rafel Plana

MPAA Rating: R (for violence, some sexuality and language)

Selig Rating: 3 Stars

Runtime: 129 Min.

Release Date: 05/31/2024

Language: English

Genre: Western, Drama

Trailer: THE DEAD DON’T HURT Official Trailer


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie/show, well worth the time and price.

4 Stars – Good movie/show

3 Stars – OK movie/show

2 Stars – Well, there was nothing else…

1 Star – Total waste of time.

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