Kelly Reichardt, you'll remember, is the shrewd and buzzworthy American filmmaker who directed Michelle Williams in "Wendy and Lucy," that trim and slyly affecting drama that'd make a mean double feature with "Bicycle Thieves." Now Reichardt returns with her third feature ("Old Joy" was her first), directing Williams again in "Meek's Cutoff," a literal Oregon Trail offshoot with strong whiffs of "Days of Heaven," "Stagecoach" and "There Will Be Blood." As I wrote in a recent blog posting at Popcorn for Dinner, that's a potent referential mix.
This might be the best trailer I've seen so far in 2011 ("The Tree of Life" clip dropped in 2010, if I recall correctly). With a broader scale and at least somewhat larger budget than Reichardt's previous work, the festival fave suggests more than ever that its maker is a true natural whose talent, like Daniel Plainview's precious oil (evoked here in the setting, score and presence of Paul Dano), is still just bubbling beneath the surface. I think we can expect to gradually see a lot of great things from Reichardt.