First Cow

First Cow

DVD - 2020
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In the 1820s, the quiet, skilled cook Otis "Cookie" Figowitz has traveled west into Oregon with a group of aggressive fur trappers. While living in the territory, Cookie develops a friendship with the Chinese immigrant King-Lu, who's also come to Oregon to seek his fortune. Soon the two collaborate on a successful business of selling baked goods in their frontier outpost--but Cookie and Lu's business plan is dependent on stealing milk from the first cow imported into the territories, a nerve-wracking venture that eventually puts them at deadly odds with the cow's wealthy and politically connected owner.


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Apr 14, 2021

Made it no more than 12 minutes, tops. Until then, most of it was in the dark and it probably took at least 8 minutes before anyone said anything. Moviemakers, please use some lights. Please have your actors say something occasionally. In the part we watched, the most interesting thing was an oil tanker moving up a river which was the very first scene. Not quite sure how that is relevant to a movie set in the 1800's.

CircMary Feb 18, 2021

If you prefer subtlety in filmmaking, where you take the time to watch closely and listen to the details as the film unfolds, you will find "First Cow" a rare treat. Besides enjoying the attention given to period clothing and the life surrounding the fort in the Pacific Northwest, I was especially struck by the quiet of the forest.

Feb 15, 2021

Excellent film making by Kelly Riechardt. The cinematography was great. Casting of Magora and Lee was perfect. BUT you need patience to take in the clues that come as the film progresses. The film might be considered an Art Film in that you need to be in touch with what is subtly presented. It is not a slam bang adventure/thriller film for the mass audience. They wouldn't understand it.
There is also a wonderful layer of humor involved. Sometimes outright funny!
IMDB rates it 7.1...I would give it a 7.8.

Jan 16, 2021

See comments and quotes in DVD version posted on Oct 15, 2020:

A simple imagined story of friendship back in the old days, during the mid-19th-century Oregon. Enjoyed two other films by Kelly Reichardt (Night Moves and Certain Women) but this film is too slow going, lighting too dark (and people complained GOT final season!) and the conversations are difficult to understand (archaic and sometimes too softly.)

The professional critics:
96% Rotten Tomatoes
4.5/5 Rolling Stone
'First Cow' Is the Year's Must-See Indie Film - The Atlantic

Jan 06, 2021

I generally agree with most comments. The 1st 15 mins. and the last 15 mins tied the show together. I found the attempt to make this movie as period piece as possible reasonably good. I wish now I had seen the extras about how it was made. Generally we have no idea how difficult it was to try and bring our version of civilization to an area. We can also see how much we change existing cultures in the process. Not sure if people realize that we had Hawaiians in the P.N.West area or how many native women married/lived with early explorers. Found it interesting because this was part of my heritage .

Jan 03, 2021

I was so looking forward to this film, but rejected ad ejected it after 15 minutes. The first 3 minutes were watching a ship approach, pass-by and then leave the frame. No special film techniques, it could have been filmed on my phone at the local river works yard. Then somehow a dog finds a skull whilst playing ball with his owner who then with her bare hands digs and preps two bodily remains with the expertise of an experienced archeologist in under 2 minutes. Still no dialogue or intrigue. After the next scene opened with cavemen- dressed men around a camp fire I had enough.

Dec 20, 2020

Found this film to be quite good, and relaxing to view, yet suspenseful. Beautiful out in the woods scenes. Ended feeling good about humanity.
Read today that this film won a highly honorable award--picture of the year--over the weekend at a film festival.

Nov 25, 2020

Kelly Reichart is an interesting director. She studies the slow moments of life. This film captures the lives of two characters in Oregon in the 1800's. Life was much slower and more attuned to nature. The pacing and scene-setting of the film illustrates how lives were different then. The ending is a sweet and touching moment. I, too, recommend watching the Special Feature about the making of the film.

Nov 22, 2020

This isn't THE worst movie ever made, but it's definitely down among the worst. There are countless scenes of literally NOTHING on the screen but a boring, empty field, or a man's shoes while he's walking, or his head while he's walking. And he's going NOWHERE. But after he's left the scene completely, the viewer spends an eternity staring at the empty field all over again. SO many scenes where NOTHING happens, even when people are involved. They're not doing anything. And then there are the many repetitive scenes in which people today are doing the same boring thing they did the day before and the day before that. The entire mess that passes for a movie is shot on a camera by someone who has no clue how to make a movie. I suppose that is more the fault of the director, but it shows up in incredibly shoddy film work. What an enormous waste in every way.

Nov 20, 2020

This is a slow-moving cautionary tale with a surprising amount of suspense. Those looking for lots of action, give this film a pass and save yourself some time and disappointment. For those willing to savor the marvelous Oregon stage and the tension surrounding the two men and the cow, you will be rewarded. Be sure to watch the extra that describes the making of the film.


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