Written October 03, 2008
New Line Cinema's APPALOOSA is a 114-minutes movie-adaptation of Robert B. Parker's 2005 novel - directed/produced/starred/co-screenwritten by Ed Harris.
Major themes explored were friendship, justice/revenge/vengeance, honor/betrayal, and sacrifice.
However, do not expect cowboys. Appaloosa is about the friendship/relationship between two for-hire lawmen Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch (Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen) in a lawless 1880's town named Appaloosa.
In the movie, their characters evolve and develop due to an adversary, Randall Bragg, and especially with the arrival of the fetching seductive Mrs. Allie French (Renee Zellweger).
Tight plot, skilled editing/directing trumped average cinematography - opportunities to showcase the gorgeous - albeit bleak - landscapes were unexploited.
Period authenticity is first-rate - glass windows, furnishings, etc.
Wonderful chemistry/interactions between Ed and Viggo (both SUPERB!)
Renee's performance was average.
Written October 03, 2008
If you are a western movie fan, then you are always ready for a NEW movie. This movie is directed and filmed very well. Not being a Hollywood action packed stereo type is to it's credit. This movie is extremely historically correct and authenic. Much care and attention to detail in this area is made from the extruded glass windows in buildings to how gun fights in the dirt streets of town were actually done. The acting is excellent and captures an authenic glimmer into the social culture and tone of the short lived American Western Frontier.
I recomend this movie to anyone that likes a real western movie.I t might not make an academy award, but does suggest a new standard in western movies. Kids mignt get bored, but to an educated mind it is worth seeing again on DVD. I plan to do so and catch all that I missed at the IMAX.
Written October 09, 2008
My wife and I loved Appaloosa. It was a good Wild West saga, but different than the usual story line in that neither the good guys or the bad guys seemed to take themselves seriously. There was a lot of humor and irony on both sides of the dispute portrayed. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenson (spelling?) were great and fed off each other, and Jeremy Irons played the role of the lead bad guy superbly. We found the movie very entertaining, letting us leave the outside world of economic woes and lying sacks of politicians for a couple of hours. The irony, humor and sexual undertones are geared toward an adult audience, so leave the youngsters to play in traffic, freeing you to enjoy the show with a smile on your face.
Written October 15, 2008
Made from the book by Robert B. Parker, creator of Spencer for Hire, you know in advance you're getting a good story underlying the script.
As a critical viewer of Westerns I cannot find any fault with this effort! Many reviewers have commented negatively on Renee Zellwinger's role, however given the actual depth and importance to the story of the part she played, I consider she did well. Her make-up was unappealing, probably to reduce her natural charm in order to convey her sense of desperation at being the "aging beauty" stranded in the West.
The rest of the acting was excellent, photography was first rate and the little additions that add to the feel were fabulous. Ox carts in tthe street, for example ....horse work was marvelous....believable gun fights....meaningful dialogue.
Much, much better than 3:10 to Yuma in every way, though not at Unforgiven level.
Go treat yourself to this on the big screen, it is well worth it.
Written November 14, 2008
Reviews have been sketchy for this flick, but I found it very entertaining as a western buff with accurate costuming, sets, the prevailing wind through the plains town, and the hesitating conversations, typical of true cowboys. They speak only if spoken to or if they want to say something..then it's short and sweet. The male duo was middle-aged and longed for something stable, but kept doing their thing...killing for hire under the star of a marshal. The vixen was well-cast even though critics say not. She appeared to be sincere, but was willing to do anything to be noticed and "loved." I lived in the badlands of Montana and on the high plains of Wyoming. Appaloosa was right on the money, so to speak, in portraying life in western territories before statehood. The town council of Appaloosa sadly allowed the acquitted murderer to take over, indicative of society throughout time. Most missed, I'm sure, the vixen's wrong notes in her piano playing! That was a hoot!