Before the coronavirus changed everything, Kelly Reichardt‘s First Cow was generating great buzz from film fans. After a successful festival run, A24 released the movie to theaters March 6, 2020. But by the end of March, movie theaters were shutting down. And A24 pulled First Cow, with promises to re-release it theatrically when things were back to normal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things will be back to normal anytime soon. And as a result, A24 will now release First Cow on digital next week.
Everyone lucky enough to see Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow so far has had nothing but glowing things to say. Marshall Shaffer wrote:
In her own intricate, earnest way, Reichardt gives us a version of There Will Be Blood for her chosen swath of the country. The unhurried, gentle pace of First Cow might lend the deceptive impression that the film is somehow simple. It is not. Reichardt has plenty on her mind about the region’s foundational economic conditions and how they continue to cast a shadow over Oregon, and the country, today. She’s also keenly aware of how many dilemmas from the time period still apply today, particularly the tradeoff between emotional self-sacrifice and rational self-interest.
I missed the movie during the festival circuit. And I missed it yet again when it was briefly in theaters in March. As the coronavirus shut down movie theaters across the country, A24 pulled the movie and announced: “We are going to relaunch Kelly Reichardt’s highly acclaimed western First Cow later this year, once the marketplace has rebounded from the limitations presented by COVID-19.”
But of course, as we know now, “the marketplace” doesn’t show any signs of rebounding anytime soon. With that in mind, A24 is now “relaunching” the movie on July 10 across all digital platforms. A24 says they still hope to bring the film back to arthouse theaters for a special run later this year, but in the meantime, anyone who has been waiting to see this thing (like me!) will have the chance next week.
In First Cow, “Two travelers, on the run from a band of vengeful hunters in the 1820s Northwest, dream of striking it rich – but their tenuous plan to make their fortune on the frontier comes to rely on the secret use of a landowner’s prized dairy cow.”