First Cow; A24 Finally Returns in 2020, Treating Us a Delightful Tale of Friendship. Grade: B
Seven months ago to be exact, comes a packed audience eagerly excited to see UnCut Gems. Who would’ve thought we wouldn’t get a new A24 film since then?! This long drought of depression of no new A24 films really crushed my soul and many other film buffs as well, whom enjoyed A24 over the years. Life without new A24 films is barely a life itself, it’s a life in which doesn’t have no sense of meaning at all, the world needs A24! Thankfully this drought of depression has finally ended, as A24 went ahead and release their newest film First Cow to the public. It had about a week maybe two at the most in it’s limited release in select theaters, but due to Covid-19 they weren’t able to release nationwide, which is a damn shame. A24 kept their patience, hoping to rerelease this nationwide as soon as theaters reopen, but at last four months went by as nothing changed. I appreciate the fact A24 has always been dedicated to the theatrical experience, speaks volume to their passion in the art of cinema, and how films should be shown. At last let’s talk about a new A24 film shall we? FINALLY!
First Cow tells a story of a baker named Cookie (John Magaro), whom late at night discovered a Chinese man named King-Lu (Orion Lee) whom was hunted down by Russians. Cookie basically saved King-Lu’s life, as the Russians flee away from the area, as King-Lu can continue living. The odd pair settled in a small little abandoned cabin, as they talk about their hopes and dreams. Cookie wanted to start up a hotel, in which consists of a bakery. As the odd pair were looking for a way to make money, fear not the only cow in this part of the small village has arrived. Cookie and King-Lu were to milk the cow late at night, so Cookie can make fresh baked goods. Witness a tale of friendship, while treated to some baked goods along the way.
The Cinematography was honestly great, it’s a damn shame these lovely visuals were not shown on a big screen. Shown in 4:4 aspect ratio, consisting many lovely nature shots one can compare on any National Geographic programming, has a real authentic ole folk tale style to it. The Score when presented was solid as well. The cast all in all were solid as a whole. Cookie played by John Magaro had a solid performance. Cookie t’was a rather intriguing character, one whom is a talented baker whom has lost his way in life searching for work. Wasn’t treated fairly nice by his peers, as he once was in charge in searching for food during their quest of finding gold I believe. He rediscovers his true passion in life thanks to King-Lu, though it took some risk, I believe it was worth it in Cookie’s mind. King-Lu played by Orion Lee played a solid performance as well. Enjoyed the character King-Lu as he provided influence for Cookie, to go after his sense of purpose in this world, while being a supportive friend planning on a future between the two. Both had solid chemistry together, displaying a wonderful believable friendship. Chief Factor played by Toby Jones had a solid performance. Toby Jones typically plays the antagonist, dating back to Wayward Pines as he doesn’t disappoint getting under ones skin. In a way Chief Factor isn’t that bad of a guy, it’s just he has this resource of milk, in which he doesn’t do much with it like Cookie and King-Lu use it as a main resource for income.
I do have flaws with First Cow. Felt the dialogue in this film wasn’t necessarily strong honestly, it was basic for my taste. For a film in this time period, I just expected the English language to really be strong. Felt the beginning was extremely slow, as it took me awhile for me to get invested in the story. It builds itself up, however you honestly don’t really know where the story is going till later on. There’s honestly one word in which describes First Cow: Genuine.
First Cow is a delightful tale about friendship. Cookie and King-Lu share a common interest in regarding being lost in the world, searching for moral purpose. Within their power of friendship between the two, they finally found a sense of purpose, as they make a nice living. The story maybe had a slow start, but once it picks up when Cookie begins to bake... It becomes a much more engaging story. When it comes down to it in life, in order to make something of yourself in this world, you have to take risks in order to get there. Of course there could be danger in those risks partaken in, but nothing really comes towards your way by doing nothing. enjoyed all the sequences of baking in this film, thought it was extremely rad. I enjoy the concluding shot of this film, as it was a sweet end towards how much this friendship meant to one another. This film has quite a few quality traits to it, while displaying a nice folk tale you would hear during bed time, told by your mother/father. The vibe of this film can be described relaxing on a patio, drinking an Arnold Palmer, as you enjoy the view. It’s a film that’s rather relaxing, that can be enjoyed throughly.
Overall, First Cow is a genuine enjoyable good film. I recommend checking this one out, can be available to rent whether it be on ITunes, Amazon, yada yada yada. Great to have A24 back on the spotlight during this era of depression, the light we all certainly needed through our path of darkness. -Mitch Smietana