Michelle Dockery's Gripping New Netflix Western 'Godless' Is Already Generating Awards Buzz

It's a far cry from Lady Mary Crawley...

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Michelle Dockery hangs up her aristocratic title and Edwardian finery for a rifle and a face covered in mud for her gripping new Netflix series, Godless.

The actress had already shifted from Downton Abbey with her turn as a con artist in Good Behaviour, and ruthless TV executive in the stage adaptation of Network.

But Dockery's latest role as a hardened, gun-toting widow in Scott Frank's critically-acclaimed western is her biggest departure from Lady Mary to date. She isn't immediately recognisable in one of her first scenes as outcast Alice Fletcher opposite Jack O'Connell's outlaw Ray Goode - her face is covered in mud, and she speaks in a low, weary midwestern accent.

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The seven-part series - set in 1884's American west - follows Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his group of violent outlaws on the merciless hunt for former ally O'Connell's Goode, who is seeking refuge in Fletcher's property.

Fletcher lives with her American Indian son and brooding mother-in-law (Tantoo Cardinal) on a ranch in New Mexico, situated on the outskirts of a town mainly populated by women after a mining accident wiped out most of the local men.

She is fiercely protective of her ostracised family, and is a deft hand with her rifle, which she isn't afraid to use when under threat.

Dockery carries Fletcher with confidence and a dynamic resilience - her aim is to protect her family and property at all costs, and she creates a character as real and believable as Lady Mary.

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There's also potential here for a showdown with the women against Griffin's men - the females prove themselves as tough and as adept with their weapons and horses as the their male counterparts.

This is a welcome change to the typical westerns we're so used to watching which often confines women to sleazy bordellos, and features revenge and retribution of its male leads as the main themes. But in Godless, the powerful females are on a par with the men, and out number them in any case.

And, although the show bears all the hallmarks of the genre - half-empty saloons, bloody shoot-outs, and galloping horses - it's very much a modern take on the trope, confronting race, sexual orientation, and gender.

The series and the ensemble cast - including Dockery, O'Connell, Daniels, Scoot McNairy and Merritt Weaver - are already generating Emmy and Golden Globe award predictions, so perhaps we can expect some well-deserved wins during the award season next year.

Godless is available on Netflix.

From: AR Revista
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