From the first scene in the modern-day Pacific Northwest where two skeletons are unearthed huddled together, the theme of friendship is established. “First Cow” examines the relationship between Cookie (John Magaro) and King-Lu (Orion Lee) on the American frontier of the 1800’s as they pursue individual success by secretly stealing milk from the only cow in town to cook delightfully salable biscuits for the people in their settlement.
“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship”-William Blake
Confronted with characters as unforgiving and rugged as the Oregon Territory of the 1800’s, Cookie and King-Lu develop strong bonds in their pursuit. While there certainly are layers to “First Cow”, deliberately exploring the obstacles of capitalism, the power of friendship cannot be ignored.
On the surface, “First Cow” seems a bit slow, but it is this pacing that delicately allows the characters and their friendship to develop into something profound. Director Kelly Reichardt is sincere in her filmmaking and it shows in “First Cow”. Available on iTunes. 4.2/5 stars.