In director Timothy Woodward Jr’s western drama TRADED, Michael Pare plays an ex-gunslinger Clay Travis, who goes back to his roots in search of his daughter. On the way to find his daughter, he took the help of an unlikely companion Billy (Kris Kristofferson), an old bartender, and ends up leaving a few dead bodies behind.
I’m a big fan of Western films and even though have not watched all kinds of Western movies, I kind of expect the same old Sergio Leone magic in every other film. In India, we have very few movies that are inspired by the Western genre of films, but we kind of mix those with most of our revenge saga with nothing unique. Probably, that’s the reason I always look forward to any recently released Western films.
Well, my sole point of talking about Western is this year’s TRADED which gives you some glimpses of Wild Wild West but somehow lacks the flavor in totality. Set in Kansas in 1883, the film tells you the story of a happy-looking couple living with their two children. The father, once a gunslinger, is now a reformed rancher who now must go back to his roots to find his missing daughter after the tragic death of his son.
Clay Travis (played by Michael Pare) and his wife Amelia (Constance Brenneman) first lost their young son Jake (Hunter Fischer) to a rattlesnake bite and then with all hardship found that their family is breaking up with their daughter Lily (Brittany Elizabeth Williams) leaving home unannounced to become a Harvey Girl (western town waitress).
Clay tries to search for Lily and gets to know that she has been kidnapped and traded to some whorehouse. With no other option to get his daughter back from a life of degradation, he now has to go back to his past which he tried to bury for a long. On his revenge way, he meets many scumbags, some old friends, and an elderly but unlikely acquaintance barkeep Billy (Kris Kristofferson) who even lends him a gun and horse at the time of need.
So, TRADED is a Western film but you should not expect much from this in terms of wilderness or any conflict with Native Americans or bandits terrorizing small dusty towns. However, you get to watch the very core of this genre of filmmaking with individuals seeking personal revenge or delivering personal justice along with other elements such as gambling and prostitution.
Overall, it’s not close to some other Western films we saw in the very recent past including Bone Tomahawk and The Hateful Eight but in a sense, it’s more modern. The acting is really good, particularly those in the lead. I must mention the cameo performance by Kris Kristofferson who was great in those few scenes. Besides, TRADED is designed well with very nice realistic shooting locations – that give you the right feeling of the era.
Lastly, even though most of my hardcore reviewer friends would not give enough stars to the film, I must say that TRADED must be treated as a film that at least tried to implement something unique in such a genre that’s bound to be compared with every other film.
Watch the TRADED Movie Trailer
Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Trace Adkins, Michael Pare, Tom Sizemore, Brittany Elizabeth Williams, Constance Brenneman, and Quinton Aaron