Movie Review for Appaloosa (2008)

Click Poster to Purchase

Review #699 of 365
Movie Review of Appaloosa (2008) [R] 114 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $12.25
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When Seen: 5 October 2008 @ 3:20 pm
DVD Release Date: Unscheduled (please check back)
After the Credits: there is nothing

Soundtrack: Download now from Jeff Beal - Appaloosa (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - or - order the CD below

Directed by: Ed Harris (Pollock)
Screenplay By: Robert Knott (debut) • Ed Harris (debut) based on the novel Appaloosa by Robert Parker

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Jeremy Irons (Eragon) • Ed Harris (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) • Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises) • Renée Zellweger (Leatherheads)

review litewebsitetrailerpremiere photosspoiler2cOrNot2c?

The fall of 2007 served up the intense, nearly mesmerizing, quintessential modern western, 3:10 to Yuma which got some instant critical acclaim, but did not fare particularly well at the box office and failed to garner the Academy Award® nominations it richly deserved. A year later, Ed Harris takes his second stab at directing himself along with Viggio Morensen and Renée Zelweger, in an adaptation he also helped pen of Robert Parker's Appaloosa. What's great about this film? The directing is magnificent. Ed Harris does a truly brilliant job when it comes to bringing this story about a pair of expert hired guns, Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), brought in to protect the town of Appaloosa from a ne'er-do-well named Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) and his gang of thugs to life. The story is slow moving and pastoral with long majestic shots of the region and time taken to fully develop the richly drawn characters. While Bragg serves as the film's villain and newcomer, Allison French (Renée Zellweger) serves as the love interest, it's really the relationship between Virgil and Everett that provides the main substance of the story.

… the unconvincing, predictable story, unfortunately, just doesn't measure up.
There is a bond between them built of mutual admiration—not even a beautiful woman could come between them—though she surely tries working her wiles on them both with the excuse of loneliness in the air. The acting is superb from the leading men, while Ms Zellweger's pursed-lip, overly-zealous performance was slightly the weak link in the cast. Put Catherine Zeta-Jones in the role instead, and I think you have a better film. And that pushes the topic slightly back toward what's wrong with the film, because despite all the positives, the film ends up seeming to lack something. Maybe it's unfair to compare it to the recent 3:10 to Yuma, however, that story vs. this story was several light years better. And, once again, it boils down to story as it often does in films these days when production values and talents are of the highest quality. If the story is lacking, no matter how much talent is on screen the film's not going to be as good. And, this story has some problems.

To mention a few:
• Randall Bragg—how terrible is he? How terrible are his men? We hear he dispatched the deputy and the sheriff, and a couple of his men take a leak on the bar in town. That's all? Not that an assassination of two lawmen isn't justification enough, it's just that the story could have been more powerful if there had been more of the treachery of the Bragg Gang visualized.
• The foreshadowing of the complications that will result from the Allison French / Virgil Cole relationship is way too blunt leading to a very predictable set of circumstances. In fact, the entire film is entirely too predictable which decreases it's impact and dulls the ending—which is a bit like the ending of another Fall 2008 film of disappointment, Righteous Kill.

Appaloosa has its moments. The cinematography is great. The acting is top ranked. The sets and costumes deliver. The music is odd at times, sometimes verging on the nerve-racking. It's the unconvincing, predictable story, unfortunately, that just doesn't measure up.

Alternate Posters
Click to Purchase

Send This Review To a Friend

Related Products from
Other Projects Featuring Appaloosa (2008)
Cast Members
Jeremy IronsEd HarrisViggo Mortensen
Renée Zellweger
Ed Harris
Robert KnottEd Harris

Review-lite Appaloosa (2008) [max of 150 words]
Sunken by an unconvincing predictable story, this otherwise magnificently directed film by Ed Harris starring himself, Jeremy Irons, Viggo Mortensen, and Renée Zellweger (the weak link in this role in the cast), delivers on some levels but fails to fire on all cylinders.

Send This Review To a Friend

No comments: