‘Quantum Cowboys’ review – Lily Gladstone directs another must-see Western

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The Big Picture

  • Lily Gladstone delivers another great performance in the animated Western Quantum Cowboysshowcasing his comedic chops and emotional gravitas.
  • The film is a vibrant and unusual work of art, incorporating different styles such as hand-drawn animation, oil paintings, and digital collage.
  • Quantum Cowboys is a multi-faceted story that takes viewers through time and space, following three characters as they search for a musician who may have died. The narration provides a backdrop to the film’s inventive storytelling and whimsical charm.

If you are looking for the year of Lily Gladstone to continue after she has been one of the best parts of the recent Killers of the Flower Moon and to hold you over until her next movie Fancy Dance finally comes out, then you’ll want to saddle up with the animated Western Quantum Cowboys. next to Kiowa Gordon of the star series Dark Windshe gives another good performance in the most joyously absurd work in her filmography to date.

Poster for Quantum Cowboys.

Quantum Cowboys

Two rude drivers, Frank and Bruno, join Linde to reclaim her land and cross southern Arizona from the 1870s to find an elusive frontiersman.

Release date
November 14, 2023

Geoff Marslett

Lily Gladstone, Kiowa Gordon, David Arquette

Main Character

Although it is difficult to fully determine because it is many things, it’s a film that takes us through time and space with a variety of styles all flashing before you as it draws you in closer to its vibrant vision. Specifically, he uses 16 mm film, hand-drawn animation, oil paintings, digital collage, and more that all come together in one unique work of art. Live-action transitions are scattered throughout as well, but the best elements come when he plays around with loads of animated styles that get chaotic in the best way. Just when you think you have a handle on what he’s getting, he lets you into another beautiful bold style that always appears before you like an ever-changing tapestry.

What is ‘Quantum Cowboys’ about?

First appearing back at the Annecy Film Festival last year, Quantum Cowboys it is a multi-faceted story unlike any other. While this type of reporting device has become a bit overused recently, writer-director Geoff Marslettand Quantum Cowboys putting his own spin on the idea in every scene. The film follows the trio Frank (Gordon), Linde (Gladstone), and Bruno (John Way) who travels through 1870s southern Arizona in addition to his own time in search of a musician who may have died. At one point, when they ask where he is, they are told that he is here and there. In fact, this sums up the film itself as the narrative it hinges on is less important than the way it tells it. Just as they are going on the search, a man in a room is monitoring what is going on in a way that almost recalls aspects of last year’s masterpiece Mad god or The Matrix movies. If that wasn’t enough, there are two other wells in Colfax (David Arquette) and Depew (Frank Mosley) which seem to have come from another time. Oh, and there’s also a film crew filming the events, one of which is played by him Gary Farmer of the amazing series Reserved dogs. In other words, there’s a lot going on that’s best if you let yourself get swept up in it.

There are moments that feel like they are playing around with classic western elements, but it would be wrong to describe it as some kind of spoof. There is sincerity in what is happening and everyone takes it seriously no matter how silly it may be. Even the most obvious comic scene around a conflict during the night and some hallucinations takes a bloody turn in which a limb is severed. Although this is the longest segment of live action, the film is still light on its feet and gets darker as it goes on.

When he throws in a mysterious hidden person, whose identity is very obvious to everyone but the characters, you go with him because it’s about the truth with which this then play Even when the ending starts to get a little meandering, setting up for what looks like more movies to come, the ride and the characters are just happy to get lost in. If you were to pick a single frame at random and place it next to a different one from another random point, they would almost certainly come from two completely different works. This is what gives the film its charm as it feels like you are in a fever dream of a kind for which there is no cure. Although you would want one with a film as smooth and colorful as this?

Lily Gladstone is delighted in ‘Quantum Cowboys’

David Arquette as Colfax, John Way as Bruno, Kiowa Gordon as Frank, and Lily Gladstone as Linde in Quantum Cowboys.
Photo via Swerve Pictures

meIt’s the energy of the show that remains true even though the performances are also good fun. In particular, Gladstone once again shows that she can inhabit any character and make them feel like someone you’ve known all your life. From the moment you first hear her voice in the central scene that the film keeps repeating, she brings both wise wit and emotional depth to the experience. Although the previous films have seen her give amazing performances, there is something special about seeing her get out and show off her comedic chops as well. When we get to know more about her character and what she hopes to achieve in all of this, it makes all the previous events more enjoyable and emotional. Whether or not she and the rest of this quirky cast of characters end up on the road again in this world, we can only be glad we got to see them in their various bodies.

Rating: B+

Quantum Cowboys available for streaming on Fandor.


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