The Timber is a slow burn western that substitutes story and character over supercharged shoot-’em-up action. Laced with a downbeat and ominous tone and led by a good cast, this offbeat genre piece is enhanced by fine photography and rich plotting. Two brothers are faced with the bank foreclosing on their property unless they bring in a wanted felon. The man on the run is their father, forced with an awkward decision the men set out with a fellow bounty hunter to capture the fugitive. This is an intelligent western/drama that boasts some great moments and a rousing score.
Wyatt (James Ransone) and Samuel are men battered by life, one is a family man, the other a killer. So, when a slick banker agrees to forego the seizure if the brothers execute the warrant, they have no choice but to set out into the harsh winter terrain. While on the trail brutal temperatures wreak havoc on their stagecoach, and a mysterious mountain man attacks them. There is also the unsettling shot of a cannibal eating the corpse of a frozen man, this alerts them to the dangerous group marauding around in the wilderness.
The Timber has an unadorned simplicity that works in its favor. This is a defiantly old-fashioned, well-crafted man vs. nature themed project. Unfortunately for stretches it just doesn’t seem to have any idea what, exactly, it wants to say, or be. But, it typically rebounds with another intriguing sequences to follow. I don’t think this is for all tastes, especially a bizarre burning at the stake in the finale. However, you could do a lot worse in the straight-to-DVD western genre.
Director: Anthony O’Brien
Stars: Josh Peck, James Ransone, Mark Caven