Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Appaloosa



"Kin I git another peek?"

Unfairly maligned revisionist Western about a pair of gunmen who clean up Western towns- Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. They've been working together so long that they;'re closer than fellow soldiers in a long war. They get hired to bring law to a frontier town where Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) and his men have had their way for too long. Ed's damn quick with a gun, and Viggo lugs around an 8-gauge shotgun that looks like two lengths of sewer pipe over his shoulder, capable of peppering entire gangs with buckshot with one pull of the trigger.
It shoots through little houses on the prairie.

Things get complicated when a Renee Zellweger, "a woman who ain't married or a whore," comes to town. Ed falls for her hard, and is quite innocent in the ways of women. And as a woman in the wild west, she has a way of "always landing on her feet." It's not as straightforward as 3:10 to Yuma, nor as contemplative as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, but somewhere in-between. I enjoyed the characters and the story, and while the end seems a bit rushed, it works. If you're expecting a simple shoot-out movie, you may be angry at Zellweger's intrusion, but she's much of the point of the tale- just listen when she's dismissed from the "man talk" and performs scales on her piano. Passive-aggressive much? We also get a fine bit part by Lance Henriksen as another hired gun. If you like modern westerns, this is a good one, based on a Robert "Spenser" Parker novel.
8 out of 12 gauges

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