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Godless Netflix Series - A Western for the Ages

A period piece set in La Belle, New Mexico in the later part of the 19th century, the Godless Netflix Series is a beautiful western. With names like Michelle Dockery (Downtown Abbey), Jeff Daniels, and Scoot McNairy gracing the cast list, you are bound to see something special. It sees all the men of the mining town perish in an accident while the womenfolk attempt to run the town.

Godless Netflix Series Review

Plot of Godless Netflix Series


Roy Goode is on the run from Frank Griffin and his gang of outlaws. Goode shelters in place with Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), a widow who lives on the edge of the town. Hence begins the saga of the Godless who scour each nook to find Roy Goode and repay the betrayal of his brotherhood. Roy Goode is clipped by Alice mistaking him for a "troublemaker" in the night. With time Goode forms a bond with the widow which heals both of them and helps them grow.

Michelle Dockery in Godless Netflix Series

This situation reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode of Mr. Denton on Doomsday where this old town drunk turns into an ace shooter. It's basically a cyclical thing that happens when a man takes up arms, falls to pieces with time, and goes back to shooting again.


But I digress, the Godless Netflix Series is about how there is still good left in the world if you look hard enough and that you have the power to change things as you see fit. Through the journey of this series, you will come across the unmistakable face of revenge, and the ugly nature of the human animal. You will also witness earnest people working hard to get life back on track after a tragedy, facing struggle after struggle.

Humor in Godless Netflix Series

There are also moments of levity that punctuate the brutal storytelling of Godless which adds to the richness of the story. There are no two-dimensional characters in this series with every character given its due screentime and backstory. The level of detail in storytelling in this series is excellent where every prop has a function. For example, A girl's ponytail ribbon in a home with smallpox is shown tied to a grave the next day.


Cinematography


If you are watching the entire series back-to-back, or even a couple of episodes at a time you will be immersed in its great visuals. It is as if you are there, in the time of prospectors and railway bandits, and most importantly frontier justice. In fact, at the very beginning of the series, you see a railway robbery going really wrong with Roy Goode turning on his mentor Frank Griffin.

Beautiful Cinematography

There are small details such as a man with an eye that keeps watering due to the liniment thrown on it by his wife. There are amputations, deaths, poor hygiene, and terrible living conditions that are a product of their time. One thing that you see is the amount of guns that remain the same today as in the latter half of the 19th century.

Frank Griffin in Godless Netflix Series

People struggled to live in those times, but the ones who survived were also grateful for everything they had. This is one thing that we can take from them and apply in our lives today.


In general, this Western has beautiful cinematography that makes you long for the days when nature wasn't as ravaged as it is today.



Title Sequence and Background Score


The title sequence is visually stunning with a score that is equally amazing. In a series such as this, the background score can even make or break the episode, and they do not disappoint.

Coming to the actors Michelle Dockery does a fantastic job of a hardened widow and Merritt Wever plays a tough character protecting her loved ones. Scoot McNairy brings the same intensity he did in DCEU's Batman vs. Superman Dawn of Justice, scaling Superman's memorial statue. There's a metaphor there in that scene that I just can't place my finger on.

Coming back to Godless, the special effects, practical or otherwise are simply amazing, especially when you see Frank Griffin's arm after it is shot by Goode. None of the gore is gratuitous and serves a significant part of the plotline. Frank Griffin's gang of outlaws are not exactly saints, with a pair of twin psychopaths who did something horrible, yet were accepted into the gang.



Why Should You Watch It?


Westerns have the unenviable reputation of being slow-paced and all about the action. But Godless is not slow, even when apparently showing a seemingly touching moment between man and beast. You see Roy Goode breaking the horses in a humane and gentle manner, showing he is at his core, a kind person.


The end of this series is in no way or form predictable, in the best way possible. Yet the end of Season 1 is done wonderfully leaving the audience with a sense of possibility and hope.


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