The Dead Don't Hurt: love blooms in 'handsomely crafted' western

Viggo Mortensen writes, directs and stars in second feature film

Vicky Krieps in The Dead Don't Hurt
Vicky Krieps is 'beguiling' as Vivienne, a French-Canadian flower seller
(Image credit: Alamy / Album)

Viggo Mortensen doesn't just star in this "sinewy, sombre, handsomely crafted" western. He is also its director, its writer and the composer of its score, said Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. "With almost anyone else", the result might be a self-indulgent disaster, but Mortensen has a "self-effacing and even reticent quality" on screen that "works against that danger". 

He plays Holger Olsen, a Danish immigrant in 1860s America who lives in a cabin he built himself near a frontier town in Nevada. One day, during a visit to San Francisco, he meets "the frank, unabashed gaze" of Vivienne (Vicky Krieps), a French-Canadian flower seller. The pair become a couple; but when Olsen decides to join the Union army and goes off to fight the civil war, Vivienne is left to fend off the attentions of a predatory local official. 

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