Cannes 2014: The Salvation reaction review

Of all the films at Cannes this year, The Salvation could - on paper, at least - sound the Cannes-iest.

A Danish/South African co-produced spaghetti Western directed by a former script consultant on Antichrist , starring Mads Mikkelsen and - erm - Eric Cantona.

Yet what sounds like a possible arthouse nightmare emerges as a near perfect blend of old school genre sensibilities and modern filmmaking.

The story's as High Noon -classic as they come - it's 1871, and after a torturous seven years apart, Danish ex-soldier Jon is about to be reunited with his wife and child.

It's a reunion short-lived, as an unlucky shared coach ride leads to unimaginable horror for Jon and his family, and sets off an increasingly bleak spiral of vengeance, bloodshed and an impressive array of steely stares, manly moustaches, and gory gunfights.

While, bizarrely, Eric Cantona gets a prominent credit, he's just a gruff henchman curio in a cast who all bring their acting A-Game.

Eva Green dazzles in a role with no dialogue, Mikkelsen is predictably great as a stoic, honour-bound gunslinger with nothing to lose, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan brings just the level of terrifying menace and droll black humour to the screen as the evil cowboy holding the local town to ransom.

Director Kristian Levring's neo-Western may embrace and homage its predecessors, but with a host of great performances, a classic but unique Ennio Morricone-esque score, and breathtaking Instagram-esque cinematography (due to filming in South Africa, around 900 shots were visually altered using CGI, giving proceedings a distinctive palette all its own), it's a Western that may not overwhelm the multiplex, but has more than enough to appeal to both old and new genre fans alike.