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Meek's Cutoff travels the unkind road of Manifest Destiny

Lost in America: a desolate moment in Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff

Williams submerges into the role as she did with Wendy, another marooned pilgrim, projecting tense defiance rather than magical iconography. Reichardt and Raymond cast the ideal of heroism still further adrift from any notion of destiny in their stand-still plotting of scenes. Meek's Cutoff may be the antithesis of Cormac McCarthy's The Road — instead of a fantasy of fatherly love slicing through a postapocalyptic nowhere, here we have the struggle for the soul of a fragile community that may not survive, but is liable to be remembered.

MEEK'S CUTOFF opens Fri/6 in Bay Area theaters.

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