A young prostitute who appears to have had a very bad day starts to talk with a saloon (brothel?) piano player…an older man named Cricket, who tells her a tale of heartache and revenge.
Joe Cassidy was the daughter of a prostitute. We then go back in time to learn how the two met. While young Jakob and Joe were drawn to each other, she ends up opting for a life of comfort with Tom Hayes. And affair begins and Joe leaves town (with Jakob planning to follow). Prostitute and friend Rowena tells her Tom killed Jakob and so she leaves, intent on getting revenge.
She returns to kill the man who killed her lover, only to discover that he is still alive and in prison.
Cassidy Red is focused on the romance between Joe and Jakob. It is a fairly standard “forbidden romance” tale. But the western elements are kept me entertained. First time writer and director Matt Knudsen seems to have a love of the genre that comes through.
I especially liked the performances by Gregory Zaragoza as the melancholy Cricket and Rick Kramer’s Cort Cassidy (Joe’s father).
The film’s opening credits are very memorable (evoking the animated open of Fistful of Dollars). Honestly, they put me right in the mood for a spaghetti western, and Cassidy Red works to deliver it. The focus on backstory can slow things down, but the core tale is pretty effective.
Supported with some strong performances, Cassidy Red should keep the attention of fans of westerns. And man, I really liked those animated titles.