It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Harold Hecht's "The Way West" is a handsomely photographed account of a picaresque journey along the Oregon Trail, but somehow I don't think it was supposed to be.
My hunch is that the film, like the A. B. Guthrie Jr. novel which inspired it, was intended to get close to the human motives of the settlers who left everything behind and ventured west.
All these pioneers weren't clean-cut, heroic frontier types with a yen for adventure. They were marginal farmers, bankrupt businessmen, religious zealots, parolees, visionaries, con men and, of course, clean-cut, heroic frontier types once in a while, too.
They didn't go west out of an unselfish desire to cultivate the prairies and spread civilization. They went for the same personal and selfish reasons men have always had, and some of them went to be tin hat Napoleons, and two-bit empire builders.