The new Amazon series “The English” bears all the external signs of the classic westerns of yore, with scenes that could have been pulled straight from a 1950s Technicolor epic. There are horseback riders silhouetted against retina-singeing vistas, desolate outposts appearing like sunbaked hallucinations, and low-angle shots that magnify people into mythic figures.

“I was enthralled, just blown away by the beauty of it,” the show’s leading man, Chaske Spencer, said of discovering “The English” on a big screen at its recent London premiere. “It took me back to, like, ‘Giant’ and some of those big John Ford western movies.”

But “The English,” which was written and directed by Hugo Blick and premieres Friday on Prime Video, is also a very different beast. While the story is, in some ways, a relatively conventional chase, with some characters you root for and others you want to see dead — and many more somewhere in the uncomfortable middle — it is suffused by an unconventional spirit with an uncommon romance at its center. All of that appealed greatly to its marquee star, Emily Blunt.

“Hugo certainly writes with great panache — you’ve got to kind of allow for it and allow space for it,” she said in a recent phone conversation. “He makes me laugh because he seems a bit baffled by the fact that people think his writing can be a bit bonkers.”

This may be an understatement. “The English” is very arch and very stylized, at once real and surreal. “It has a classicism,” Blick said in a video chat. “But I hope in front of the camera there’s a modernity to it.”

Read the full interview/article in our press library.




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