Saturday, December 19, 2009


Released: 2008

Reviewed: 12.15.09
Star rating: 3 out of 5

Jeremy Irons (Bragg), Ed Harris (Virgil), Viggo Mortensen (Hitch), Renee Zellweger (Allison), Robert Jauregui (Marshall Bell), Timothy Murphy (Vince), Luce Rains (Dean), Cerris Morgan-Moyer (Tilda).

Bragg and his cowboys are the local bad bunch and they are plundering the town of Appaloosa on a regular basis. Tired of being used, the town hires gunfighters Virgil and Hitch to fill the role of local lawmen and rid them of Bragg and his gang. Virgil and Hitch have things under control but when the beautiful Allison shows up things become a bit more complicated.

This one starts off with a bit of action that sets down a basis for the film plot then moves right into character development. Directed by Ed Harris, this really isn't the typical western. There aren't as many action scenes as you usually see in westerns and although everyone had a gun, they weren't relied upon in this film the way the often are. This was more about the subtle aspects of the story and how western life could be complicated and dangerous in other ways. Despite the lack of action the plot moves along pretty well, felt fairly solid, and kept audience interest to the end.

Acting was pretty good from Irons and Harris as you would expect. It isn't often you see Harris playing down but he did it well in this film. Mortensen however was my favorite in this one, playing the shadowy yet more than capable partner wonderfully. I've never been a Zellweger fan and though she did nicely here, I find it hard to see her as a love interest.

Camera work, sets, and background were all nicely done and gave the film an authentic feel despite it appearing to have been a lower budget production. Sound and dialogue were okay, while the soundtrack was a bit flat.

Overall this was a nicely done western that had a bit more to it than just guns and attitude. With violence and foul language save this one for older teens and above.

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