This is without doubt a solid performing western adventure, based on man seeking revenge like some of the greatest Westerns from the past. So nothing different here, but what is unusual are the two main character roles of Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson. Both played brilliantly defined characters with total conviction from start to finish.
Gideon (Pierce Brosnan) is being hunted by Carver (Liam Neeson) accompanied with a bunch of misfits Michael Wincott, Ed Lauter and Xander Berkeley. The initial twenty minutes is a snowbound survival Western depicting the wilderness and loneliness, not unlike that of another western classics Jeremiah Johnson.
Gideon in the first few minutes of the film is hunted and wounded in a snow covered mountain terrain, and to make sure he's dead, he is pursued by the gang to make sure they can find his body. Carver is only prepared to pay his misfits based on finding Gideon's dead body, but all they find is a trail of blood.
For a long time during the film it is not clear why Carver is pursuing Gideon and indeed who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. This increases the tension and adrenaline and the mystery is heightened, as it is not understood if Carver is a lawman or a bounty hunter. Only very late in the film do we get an explanation as to why the feud began in the first place- taking us back to the Civil war in the deep south.
Throughout the film both Gideon and Carver create hostilities with each other, there is no turning back, no mercy, no escape. The final showdown in the desert and the ultimate confrontation with each other has left a question with a number of reviewers, as to whether these scenes were truly necessary. Firstly, the old Indian (Wes Studi) sitting by a waterhole waiting to get paid for taking his water, and the medicine woman with her wagon selling anything from guns and tonic to each of the hostile strangers.
My understanding would be that due to the near total exhaustion by both hunter and the hunted, these two scenes were an apparition or a hallucination if you like, playing on the minds of two - soon to die exhausted men. The terrain and landscape of the West shaped western movies a long time ago and created an incredible following with moviegoers and moreover shaped a genre all on its own, and Seraphim Falls simply portrays it all. A Western that embraces the true bloody west and based on the acting talents, both Liam Neeson and Pearce Brosnan should fit naturally into many more great westerns.