Prior to any historical connection, Old Henry seems to be just another low-concept Western—simple, if not boring in its presumed blandness. But then secrets get unearthed, albeit gradually, and the movie recovers from a rough first act to really find its stride in the latter half.
Similarly, but not quite, to the 2010 drama Remember Me, which abruptly tosses in its polarizing twist at the very end, Old Henry rides on its otherwise-random hook and the story finds life because of it, even if it’s not always sustainable. At times failing to build up any poeticism with its extraordinary concept, the movie feels like it’s being dragged away from its inherent themes about retribution and regret in favor of a father-son motif that doesn’t completely get fleshed out.
Ultimately though, the hook gets complimented with moments of brilliant execution, such as the aforementioned shootout, a goosebumps-inducing reveal, and a meticulous pace that builds on an even keel. And it’s all tied together by a trifecta of reliable performances.