21st Century Westerns: “Five Fingers for Marseilles”

Allusions to classic westerns abound in this impressive 2017 South African drama.



Editor’s Note: Throughout March and April, we’re celebrating Great Westerns of the 21st century — noteworthy movies and TV series with special appeal to C&I readers that have premiered since 2001. Check the Entertainment tab Monday through Friday to see a different recommendation by C&I senior writer Joe Leydon. And be on the lookout for our upcoming May/June 2020 print edition, which prominently features the legendary star who looms large in two of this century’s very best westerns.

An audaciously imaginative mashup of Spaghetti Western elements and post-Apartheid South African melodrama, Five Fingers for Marseilles is an impressively effective and engrossing cross-cultural hybrid. As I noted in my Variety review filed from the 2017 Fantastic Fest in Austin: “Director Michael Matthews and scripter Sean Drummond skillfully employ recycled genre elements to enhance the mythic qualities of their slow-burn narrative and reinforce the underlying sense that their archetypical characters are fulfilling destinies as inescapable as the fates that might befall major players in a conventional Wild West saga.” Read Full Article

‘Lansky’: DC ‘Titans’ Actress Minka Kelly & More Join Harvey Keitel & Sam Worthington In Gangster Epic – EFM

 Shutterstock - mika kelly
CREDIT: Shutterstock

EXCLUSIVE:  Minka Kelly has joined Harvey Keitel, Sam Worthington and AnnaSophia Robb in the cast of Eytan Rockaway’s (The Abandoned) upcoming biopic Lansky, about the infamous gangster Meyer Lansky, a contemporary of Bugsy Siegel. As previously announced, Keitel plays the notorious Lansky.

Also rounding out the cast are Orange Is the New Black‘s Jackie Cruz, John Magaro (the upcoming First Cow, also Oscar-winning The Big Short) who plays the younger Lansky, David Cade (upcoming Michael Shannon movie Swing) as Siegel, David James Elliot (CBS’ JAG, Trumbo) and Alon Aboutboul (FX’s Snowfall, The Dark Knight Rises). Read Full Article

New York Times: Excellent Review of Five Fingers

Review: ‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’ Takes the Western to South Africa
By Teo Bugbee Sept. 6, 2018

five fingers for marseilles

Five teenage boys stand in a circle, each pointing a slingshot at the others. The camera follows their glances as they look to see who will betray the stillness. For fans of Sergio Leone, this setup may seem familiar, but the standoff takes place in compellingly undiscovered country, where the rule of genre is as malleable as the rule of the law.

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3 things about “Five Fingers for Marseilles”

3 things you might not know about South African western “Five Fingers for Marseilles”

Five Fingers Marseilles
By Bernard Dayo May 15, 2018

There’s a good chance that Five Fingers for Marseilles has popped up in your social media feed, South Africa’s buzziest film right now. Five Fingers has already lit up the global festival circuit and earned excellent reviews, and it’s still going strong. If you still don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, or you just have a vague idea about the film, then this listicle is for you. I’m sorry but I only have three things to highlight. It could have been five, you know, to blend with the title and all, but whatever.

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Five Fingers for Marseilles

Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival


Todd Brown Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)

“We’ve been keeping a close eye on South African western Five Fingers For Marseilles for quite some time now. We posted two sets of still images from the production, noting at the time that this was going to be a simply gorgeous production, and now – a day after the film was announced in selection at the Toronto International Film Festival – we get to see those images in motion with the release of the first trailer. And, hell yeah, they look even better moving.” Read full review

By Joe Leydon (@joeleydon)

“An imaginative commingling of Spaghetti Western elements and post-Apartheid South African melodrama.” Read full review

Five Fingers For Marseilles Trailer

Twenty years ago, the young ‘Five Fingers’ fought for the rural town of Marseilles, against brutal police oppression. Now, after fleeing in disgrace, Tau returns, seeking peace. Finding the town under new threat, he must reluctantly fight to free it. Will the Five Fingers stand again?

Watch the trailer

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