Appaloosa

October 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Suzie's Movies

What’s it about?- A western set in the 1880s. Appaloosa, a small, fictitious town in New Mexico, finds itself being bullied by a local outlaw and his brutal thugs. The town hires two professional lawmen to come in and restore law and order. While the law men are more than capable for the task at hand, everything is put a kilter with the arrival of a pretty widow. Lines are drawn, guns are fired, people get killed and an age-old friendship is put to the test. It stars Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, and Jeremy Irons.

Let’s start at the back of the film, the part where the credits roll. In the theater where I viewed this flick, everyone stood up and clapped. I doubt that anyone left feeling ambivalent about the movie they had just seen. I was right there with them clapping madly with a big, stupid grin on my face. What fun!

Ed Harris wrote, directed and stars in this very satisfying western. While I don’t think anyone would consider this movie an epic along the lines of say, Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven”, this movie still has a great deal going for it. The first thing you’ll notice about the film is that it’s good-looking. Harris doesn’t spend a great deal of time lining up artistic shots or interesting camera angles, rather, he lets the beautiful New Mexico scenery speak for itself. You immediately find yourself in the warm, dusty atmosphere of a dessert town. Next is the dialogue. Viggo Mortensen opens the film with an easy going, laid back narritive that sets the scene and the pace for the rest of the movie. I immediately got the feeling I was in for a good story-telling. Harris’ writing was simple and straightforward but entirely engaging. I could on about how well written the screenplay was but even that isn’t the best part of this flick. The story itself is a pretty typical western… good guys versus bad guys, a call to arms against bullies. It does have an interesting note or two but here again, it’s the simplicity and straightforwardness of the story telling itself that makes it so enjoyable. The most exciting aspect of the film for me was the great friendship and chemistry between the characters of Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris. It harkens back on the friendship of Robert Redford and Paul Newman in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or “The Sting”. They finish each others’ sentences, get each others’ jokes and are about as good as friends as any two people can be. There is nothing that happens in the movie that can’t be explained by saying, “Well, you know, they’re buddies, life long friends.” and that statement alone puts everything into focus. (I realize this may sound a bit obscure but i don’t want to ruin the nature of the movie for anyone.) What a pleasure it was to watch two of my favorite actors work so well in tandem with each other.

I do have to ad one final comment here, (and this is on a personal level… Ladies, I know you’ll be right there with me on this too…) my hands down, absolute favorite thing about this movie… there are no metrosexuals in this movie AT ALL! It’s a western so the whole thing is populated with real men! They’re scruffy, they’re dusty and most of them are sporting a two days growth of beard but by golly there’s no hair gel anywhere and no question how handy they would be around the house. There. I said it. Out loud. (Well, in print anyway.) I love westerns for the cowboys and maybe some of you ladies out there will too. So the next time you want to see a romantic flick with your sweetie, check out what western is playing and buy your guy some cowboy boots. Yippee ki yi yay!

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