The best western I have seen in recent years is the extremely violent Australian movie The proposition. What made that movie interesting in my mind was the air of freshness that the new surroundings provide to the genre. Seraphim falls starts promising, and for a while I expected it was going to end up as satisfying an experience as watching The proposition was. It did not.
This movie ends in absurdity, which more and more looks like what Hollywood confuses with depth. The problem is that a metaphorical ending in a story of this sort feels like a cop out. For more than an hour and a half the movie has established the storytelling framework in which it occurs, and the end destroy this. More skillfully executed, it would have been an interesting post-modern take on the western genre. The way it is, you feel an unfulfilled promise and disappointment. It reminds me a bit of the end of 3:10 to Yuma, where suddenly the characters stop being characters and decide to serve as moralizing stand ins for… I don’t know… the scriptwriter?
That being said, the first hour and forty minutes or so is a very good western, it is well acted and very nicely shot.