Godless Review – Spoiler Free
Godless is a new western available to watch only on Netflix. The show stars Jack O’Connell, Michelle Dockery, Jeff Daniels, Scoot McNairy, Merritt Wever, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Tantoo Cardinal. Godless comes written and directed by Scott Frank who some might know as the writer of the screenplays for Logan (2017), The Wolverine (2013) and A Walk Among Tombstones (2014). Scott Frank is also the director for all 7 episodes of Godless.
I’m not usually one to go into the western genre with much excitement. While I do enjoy films and TV shows from the genre from time to time and some of them are exceptionally good, it’s never been one of my favourites. But after seeing the trailer for Godless a few times on Netflix in the last week or so, I thought I’d give this one a go. I hadn’t done any research into the show and had no idea it had such great actors in there like Jeff Daniels or Michelle Dockery or that the author of the screenplay and its director had also worked on some of my favourite films, but I soon discovered all of this as I delved deeper into the show.
The basic story of Godless is that Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) has left/escaped the gang that he used to run with and didn’t exactly do so without his previous grievances there being rectified. As a result, the gang which is led by Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) is in pursuit of Roy Goode and will kill anyone who tries to keep Roy safe. Frank Griffin is a known outlaw and one of the most dangerous men in the region, everyone is terrified of him as he’s quite fearsome. Roy ends up taking some rest in the town of La Belle and it is here that he becomes acquainted with Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery). La Belle is a strange town in that it’s mostly populated by women, although they are no pushovers. Can Roy Goode be safe there?
I found the story over the 7 episodes to have quite a lot of depth to it, with a variety of interesting characters which were well developed over time. However, I did find that the character of Roy Goode was for some reason a lot less interesting to get to know than say Frank Griffin. While the two were both well developed and are completely different as Roy is the hero and Frank is the villain, Frank was for some reason always much more interesting to watch. That might have been due to Jeff Daniels exceptional performance, but even so, there’s so much to analyse and discuss when it comes to Frank Griffin. I love it when shows have a great villain and Godless definitely delivers that to its audience.
The actors in Godless were all impressive. I think my favourite of the bunch was Jeff Daniels who I’ve not really seen in any role as a major villain before, but his performance as Frank Griffin was certainly exceptional. You can always tell when someone is putting in some great work as an actor when their screen presence in all of their scenes seems to go above and beyond everyone else for a moment, like their character is always right at the centre. I also really enjoyed watching Michelle Dockery, who put in some good work and was one of the stronger female performers. The show’s lead Jack O’Connell also was a decent hero and I was impressed with what he could do and I also enjoyed watching Thomas Brodie-Sangster who had a difficult role as the town’s law man.
The tone of Godless is a little dark and full of tense moments. With all the episodes being directed by Scott Frank, I believe he was able to keep a solid level of consistency from episode to episode. At times when watching Godless, there are some slower moments and the pacing does at times slow right down, for some, I can see them getting a little bored with them wanting it to maybe move a little quicker. But it always does seem to me that this is how westerns are, it’s just slower in there for some reason. The characters ride horses, they walk into scenes and it seems to be always way too hot. Godless seems to maintain the same slow pace for much of the show, but I didn’t find it boring at all. It slowly introduces you to the characters and you watch what they do and learn about their past. It’s an interesting narrative to follow and directing it all is really a massive job, but I think it was well put together and is on par with anything comparable on film.
The set locations were all well chosen. There’s some beautiful scenery in multiple episodes of the show to look at. The sets themselves and the way they were designed was also well done and the costumes were all well designed.
Overall Godless is a great new show in the western genre. Viewers may find some parts of it to be a little slow, but there’s a great story in there, with some very well written and well developed characters. Jeff Daniels puts in a great performance as the show’s villain Frank Griffin and both Michelle Dockery and Jack O’Connell were great heroes. Godless is a well made western, with excellent set locations, costumes and also set design. I highly recommend checking out this show when you can as it’s one of the more impressive shows to be released in 2017 and shouldn’t be missed.