Review: ‘Deadwood’ brings righteous closure to a tough western

Tom Long
Anna Gunn and Timothy Olyphant play a couple who’ve persevered through tough times in “Deadwood: The Movie.”

“Deadwood: The Movie” is the long-awaited satisfying conclusion to “Deadwood” the TV series, which some idiot at HBO canceled back in 2006 after three killer seasons.

Unfortunately “Deadwood: The Movie” isn’t going to make sense to anyone who hasn’t seen the series. Happily there’s an easy solution: Watch “Deadwood” the TV series (Amazon, HBO, DVD). There is nothing better on television today. Then watch “Deadwood The Movie.”

Which takes place 10 years after the series ended yet deals with its ongoing concern — progress and how it effects the varied denizens of a one-time outlaw western mining town lurching toward inevitable civilization in the late 19th century.

The language, as always from creator David Milch, mixes Shakespearean flight with litanies of swear words in a manner that’s both above and below normal discourse. It thrills the ear.

Most major characters have returned. Saloon owner-master manipulator Al Swearingen (Ian McShane) and generally righteous lawman Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) still run the now-grown town, while their cold-blooded mutual foe George Hearst (Gerald McRaney) is back trying to establish telephone service.

But “Deadwood” was always an ensemble piece and happily that ensemble — including actors Paula Malcolm, Robin Weigert, John Hawkes, William Sanderson, Kim Dickens, Dayton Callie, Molly Parker, Brad Dourif and Anna Gunn — is as sharp as ever. Each contributes wonderfully but Malcolm’s prostitute Trixie remains the show’s fiery heart.

With “Deadwood” there will be mud as well as blood. The town’s filthy streets were always a reflection of the show’s willingness to mess around in man’s mucky needs and deeds. A two-hour movie is no match for a 13-hour season, but damn it’s nice to get dirty with these people again.

‘Deadwood: The Movie’


8 tonight