The Dead Don’t Hurt is a captivating new Western that showcases the multifaceted talents of Viggo Mortensen. Mortensen serves as the writer, director, and star. Joining Mortensen is an excellent cast featuring Vicky Krieps, Solly McLeod, Garret Dillahunt, Danny Huston, and W. Earl Brown. The film tells the story of a pair of immigrants attempting to make a life for themselves in the unforgiving American West. Thanks to Shout! Studios, I had the opportunity to screen the film, and I found it to be a wonderful, heartfelt drama. Keep reading for my full review and a look at the trailer. The Dead Don’t Hurt was released in theaters on May 31.


The film is a deliberately paced journey, often evoking the essence of Unforgiven. Much like Unforgiven, The Dead Don’t Hurt exudes a somber atmosphere and gritty realism throughout. At its core, this movie isn’t about six-shooters and standoffs; it’s about two characters and their intertwined journey. Simply put, for anyone expecting shootouts, this isn’t that kind of Western. Instead, it’s an exploration of resilience and connection against a rugged backdrop.

One aspect that may divide audiences is the non-linear storytelling style Mortensen employs. Without delving into spoilers, the film opens with scenes that occur closer to the end of the timeline. Initially, I found the non-linear format a bit confusing, as there was no clear indication of where we were in the timeline. Each time the scene jumped, it usually took me a minute or two to adjust to the new setting. This could have been handled more gracefully, but as long as you are paying attention, it’s not a significant issue.

Mortensen is no stranger to Westerns, having previously starred in Appaloosa and Hidalgo. I applaud Mortensen for venturing into the genre again and bringing something fresh. Of course, there are still classic Western elements: a man in black, corrupt rich folks trying to control the town, and a good-hearted sheriff. But The Dead Don’t Hurt uses these elements to shape the narrative rather than define it.


While Mortensen excels as the writer, director, actor, and composer for The Dead Don’t Hurt, perhaps his best decision was stepping away from the screen for a good portion of the film. This is no slight against Mortensen, who delivers a fantastic performance as Holger Olsen. However, when his character leaves during the middle of the film, it allows Vicky Krieps’ standout performance as Vivienne Le Coudy to truly shine. When Olsen unexpectedly volunteers to fight for the Union in the Civil War, he leaves Vivienne alone. Leading up to this point, Vivienne has shown herself to be self-assured. But when left alone in their small home, she must endure some truly harrowing experiences. Krieps brings a quiet yet powerful presence to Vivienne, ultimately becoming the film’s star.

As a love story, the chemistry between Mortensen and Krieps is crucial. Their interactions are captivating, and even though much of their relationship unfolds off-screen, their connection is palpable whenever they share the screen.


The Dead Don’t Hurt is a wonderful and heartfelt Western drama, distinguished by its deliberate pacing and somber realism. Viggo Mortensen excels as the writer, director, actor, and composer, but the true highlight is Vicky Krieps’ portrayal of Vivienne, showcasing her resilience in the face of adversity. The film is beautifully shot and a pleasure to watch. The supporting cast is also wonderful even with the minimal screentime devoted to them. While Westerns today may not enjoy the popularity they once had, The Dead Don’t Hurt is an easy recommendation for anyone who appreciates quality cinema.



Sound off and tell us what you think. Will you be checking out The Dead Don’t Hurt? Also, are you a fan of the Western films we’ve been getting lately?

You can tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment below or finding me online @TheIndianaSlone. And be sure to stay up to date on your Entertainment and Pop Culture News by following us at