It is tempting to argue with Tommy Lee Jones about The Homesman when he says "don't call it a Western" as the opening shot of the film is of a dusty plain .
While the plot sees Swank's Mary Bee Cuddy and Jones's transporting three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa, for the longest time the film doesn't seem to go anywhere.
It takes forever to get going and then when the odd couple finally set off on their mission it goes nowhere fast until a interesting narrative turn at the end of act two.
Swank and Jones make for an intriguing onscreen pairing. Swank has a tough role of a woman who is "plain as an old tin pail and bossy" and also described as much of a man as any man in the town, transporting these insane women who also have lost their sense of femininity. Partnered with Jones's gruff and irritable outsider, the journey sees them bring out different sides to their personalities.
Anchored by two strong central performances, it is a shame that the three women being transported aren't given more to do other than occasionally at out and stare silently out the windows of their wagon.
The Homesman might be set in the Mid-West but it would be very comfortable in the Western genre... just don't tell Tommy Lee Grumpy Cat!