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God? What God? Mister, you clearly don’t know where you are. Look around. There ain’t no higher-up around here to watch over you and your young’ns. This here’s the paradise of the locust, the lizard, the snake. It’s the land of the blade and the rifle. It’s godless country. And the sooner you accept your inevitable demise, the longer you’re all gonna live. If you think about it, same God that made you and me also made the rattlesnake. That just don’t make no sense. All man can count on is hisself. That’s the truth.
So says the villain of Godless, the Emmy-winning Netflix miniseries written and directed by Scott Frank. An American Western set in 1880s New Mexico, Godless shows us a violent country of suffering and evil, a corner of the world where God is seemingly absent.
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Real good and real harm are certainly seen in this series, and so is the presence of a Hidden God.The brutal man who names this territory “the paradise of the locust” is gang-leading outlaw Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), on the hunt for his former protégé Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell). Years ago, Griffin had informally adopted the orphaned Roy, promising that the gang would be his new family. Now that he is a grown man, Roy has recognized the cruelty of his “Pappy” and is breaking away, even thwarting Griffin’s murderous plans. This is a disloyalty Frank Griffin cannot abide. The arc of the series follows Griffin’s vengeful search for his “wayward” son, and the catastrophe that he inflicts on anyone who gets in his way. When Roy takes shelter at the ranch of Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery) just outside the town of La Belle, all of the inhabitants are implicated and must pull together to defend themselves from the coming onslaught.
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