“Best known as co-writer of Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet and Rust and Bone, Thomas Bidegain makes a striking directing debut with this timely twist on a classic Hollywood theme. A French family obsessed with country and western is thrown into crisis when teenage daughter Kelly suddenly disappears. Stetson-toting father Alain (François Damiens) heads off in pursuit, later accompanied by his son ‘Kid’.
As time passes and we move into the uncertainties of the 21st-century, this twisty, provocative drama-thriller offers a modern variant on John Ford’s The Searchers, with Alain in the John Wayne role as a man forced to confront his own prejudices – not about Native Americans, but about Islam and its transformation of the contemporary world. With terrific performances from Damiens, up-and-comer Finnegan Oldfield, and John C Reilly, Les Cowboys combines real-world commentary and classic French cinephilia to potent effect.” — Jonathan Romney, London Film Festival 2015