Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Appaloosa. B

In 'Appaloosa,' Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen play two law men who travel to a town to stop a group of villains, lead by Randall Bragg, played by Jeremy Irons, who are causing much chaos to the town and its people. When they arrive, so does Allie French, (Rennee Zellweger) a poor lady who seeks help, and a man. Virgil Cole, (Harris) who admires Miss French, hires her to play the piano in the town saloon. This begins a long, romantic subplot (Well actually, it is really the center of the movie) between Allie and Virgil. Everett (Mortensen) keeps out of their affairs, but recognizes that with a woman in Virgil's life, their partnership may never be the same. The plot is one that has been used in countless Hollywood Westerns, most recently the magnificent 'Tombstone,' with Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell. But Ed Harris, who also directs and co-wrote the screenplay, is going more after the two characters than the plot. And that is indeed the strong point in this movie. The chemistry between Harris and Mortensen is terrific, though Harris' character definitely weakens as the story unfolds. He definitely doesn't seem to hold true to his 'feelings get you killed' attitude as film unwinds. Also, Irons does a great job as Bragg, sort of an old-fashioned bad guy with little depth, who exemplifies utter villainy (he starts off the movie by killing three men and never shows any sort of regret or admittance over it). Unfortunately, Zellweger was a complete miscast. She obviously tries, but it is quite evident that she has no idea how to act in this sort of movie. 'Appaloosa' is a decent Western. It is nowhere near as good as "3:10 to Yuma,' but its throwback style to some of the older John Ford Westerns, and its humorous, but deep characters make it more of a Appawinner than a Appalooser.

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