You are currently viewing The Englishwoman is a tough and witty western series starring Emily Blunt.  Her heroine comes to America to avenge the death of her son.  Together with an Indian partner, they arrange a Tarantino massacre


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One of the most notable series premieres in November is The Englishwoman, released on Amazon Prime Video. The main female role in this neo-western is played by British actress Emily Blunt – her heroine goes to the Wild West to avenge the death of her son. She is accompanied by a retired soldier from the people pawnee (Chask Spencer). And together they arrange something in the spirit of Tarantino films. We tell you how this western differs from all the others.

“It’s Alice in Wonderland,” says Emily Blunt of the new series. In “The Englishwoman” she plays Cornelia Lock – in fact, an Englishwoman who came to America to avenge the death of her son. She has a bag of cash with her and many secrets, the main one of which will be revealed, of course, in the finale.

In the first episode, Lok meets a retired intelligence officer, Eli (Chask Spencer) from the people pawnee. Like a creature from another dimension, in an exquisite hot pink dress and with an umbrella, Lok looks with pain at the beaten, bound and hung Eli – and demands from Mr. Watts (Kieran Hinds in the role of another bastard), the owner of a hotel in the Kansas steppe, unleash the captive – she gives thirty dollars for his release. Mr. Watts smiles slyly, punches Cornelia in the jaw, and she falls to the dusty Kansas ground. This is the first surprise – in westerns with women this usually does not happen.

“Englishwoman” is generally one big surprise that neither commercials nor posters immediately give out. The creators of the series took stereotypical characters (a sophisticated aristocrat meets a brutal Native American – a famous trope about the friendship of a white woman and a representative of an oppressed people), mixed it all up and created something completely new as a result.

Clint Eastwood, who starred in 15 Westerns and directed four, including the Oscar-winning Unforgiven, He speaksthat the main thing in this genre is a good story. The creator of The English Woman, director and screenwriter Hugo Bleek, follows Eastwood’s advice exactly.

The story of Bleek, Spencer and Blunt (she also acted here as a producer of the series) destroys genre clichés – it straightens out like a compressed spring, resembling rather than the unhurried “Survivor” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarrita, but “Django Unchained” Quentin Tarantino. This brutal and bloody series is filled with dry restrained black humor, which does not allow it to completely turn into a comedy. In almost every frame, a gun is fired, someone’s stomach is cut open, or someone’s scalp appears.

glare wanted I made a Western when I was a child, when I saw the films of Anthony Mann, one of the founders of the genre, who also influenced the French New Wave. The cinematic references in The Englishwoman are very noticeable, Bleek was clearly inspired not only by Mann and Eastwood, but, of course, Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns.

“The Englishwoman” is made on a grand scale and with ambition, every frame is interesting here. The landscapes of the Spanish La Mancha and Segovia, depicting the spaces of Kansas and Montana in the series, are not just beautifully shot here, and the outfits of the heroine Emily Blunt are not just perfectly matched. The geometry of the frame is striking, thanks to which it is simply impossible to tear yourself away from the image throughout all eight episodes. This series seems to be filmed for the big screen (its premiere is just took place at the BFI Film Festival in London).

Eastwood’s second tip for a good western is perfect casting. Emily Blunt, who in her own words, the roles of strong women are already forced to yawn – before they are stereotypical – in “The Englishwoman” he again plays a strong woman, but unusual. The thirst for noble revenge makes her fearless: she shoots a bow, shoots a gun and fights with armed bandits and locals.

Chaske Spencer, who played the werewolf in Twilight, here turned into a noble, charming veteran in his severity. His character, Eli Whipp, is heading to Nebraska to get the land due to him as a soldier in the American army (although he does not particularly believe in the promises of the whites). Together with Blunt, they play an amazingly harmonious pair of superheroes – their bullets are always a little smarter than the bullets of their opponents. The factual accuracy is not so important here: it is not known whether such characters could actually make friends in 1890, but the audience in 2022 definitely wants this to happen.

Noble vengeance takes place not only in the plot, but also at the meta level. Heroes atypical for the genre, a man and a woman crippled by life, work through their injuries in a spectacular way: chases, gunfights, rescuing babies and getting to know the most incredible characters of the American prairies (among them a woman without eyelids, German Mennonites and a mysterious killer hiding his face).

Understanding, rethinking and rewriting history is an important part of the modern cultural process, in which Bleek wrote a short but important chapter. One of the important components of both Hollywood and Spaghetti Westerns was the confrontation between whites and Native Americans. But almost always the main character was a white male, sometimes even adopting the culture and customs of indigenous peoples – as in Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves or Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis.

In The English Girl, the main character is a Pawnee, a Native American played by Native American Spencer. The robbed Indians here are not an unknown alien force, but people with a special culture, in whose house trouble has come. The English Woman thus becomes not just a neo-Western, but a Meta-Western, both in 1890 and 2022.

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Irina Karpova


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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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