The Outsider (2002) (TV)
The TV movie The Outsider is a beautiful little western, both in spirit, imagery and execution, made unabashedly the old-fashioned way, like westerns were made in the days of classics like Shane. This approach could have come off as reactionary and cliched, but when it is done with this much heart and soul, and played to perfection dramatically, the result is nothing but refreshing and remarkably rewarding. It's traditionalism at its best, the way the film presents and supports its universal and timeless themes of love, steadfastness and family values, and weathers off both the antagonists' hatred as well as any skepticism or adversity the audience might hold.
I've often wondered why I so rarely find myself as moved by modern cinema as I was and often still am by classics from the mid 20th century, and I've asked myself if it could be because I'm biased in favour of older films. The Outsider is the film that refutes this; demonstrating instead that the reason may well be that few modern films have the confidence to do what this film does: rely on simple and timeless storytelling to evoke feelings, without being self-conscious about it - a self-consciousness which often results in films with a certain distance or irony. The Outsider is completely and refreshingly stripped of such, and the actors flourish in this uninhibited environment, with Timothy Daly, Naomi Watts and youngster Thomas Curtis creating special bonds which seem more authentic than anything I've seen on film in quite a while. The Outsider is a precious little gem.