Riveting, But Flawed
Release Date: September 19, 2008
Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen,
Renée Zellweger, Jeremy
Irons, Lance Henriksen, and
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 114 minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema/Warner
Director: Ed Harris
Executive Producer: Michael London, Cotty Chubb,
Toby Emmerich, and Sam Brown
Producer: Ed Harris, Robert Knott and
Writer: Ed Harris and Robert Knott
Address Comments To:Toby Emmerich, President/COO
New Line Cinema
(A Time Warner Subsidiary)
116 North Robertson Blvd., Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 854-5811
Fax: (310) 354-1824
Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen play Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, two lawmen for hire in 1882 New Mexico who roam from town to town clearing out desperadoes. The town leaders of Appaloosa, a small mining community, hire them to stop a ruthless rancher named Randall Bragg, played by Jeremy Irons. Bragg and his men are running roughshod over the town. In fact, Bragg himself has murdered the former sheriff and two deputies.
As Virgil and Everett take a tough stand against Bragg, a provocative widow named Allison French, played by Renée Zellweger, captures Virgil’s heart. Allie, however, is a scared filly in a world of tough men. She turns out to be a bit fickle and endangers the progress Virgil and Everett make in cleaning up Appaloosa and putting Bragg in jail. She also threatens to disrupt the two lawmen’s 12-year partnership. Therein lies the rest of the story.
APPALOOSA is a riveting western with interesting characters. The cast does a top-notch job. There are also some unexpected twists that add depth. The ending, however, could use more action. It also caps things off on a bittersweet note as Everett makes a life-changing choice that resolves the conflicts among Virgil, Allie and Bragg.
APPALOOSA is not a revisionist western like some, but it does portray the people in the West as more flawed than the classic Hollywood western. Thus, the movie contains more overt sexual references and strong foul language than the classics. Also, the main hero, Virgil, displays a vicious temper when one of the male citizens of Appaloosa starts cursing in front of Allie. Despite some moments of chivalry, the world presented here is not a religious one. Even so, the movie has moments where characters extol the virtues of justice, law and order.
Ultimately, APPALOOSA requires extreme caution for its pagan worldview and strong foul language, which includes some crude sexual references. MOVIEGUIDE® Magazine and Website is still waiting for Hollywood to make another truly heroic western that families can enjoy.
APPALOOSA is a riveting western with interesting characters and some good twists. The cast does a top-notch job. The ending, however, could use a bigger action scene. It also ends on a bittersweet note. The movie extols the virtues justice, chivalry, faithfulness, and law and order, but it has a pagan worldview that doesn’t overtly acknowledge God or biblical morality. It also contains some strong R-rated foul language, including a few crude sexual references. This negative content warrants extreme caution. The MOVIEGUIDE® family guide to movies is still waiting for Hollywood to make another truly heroic western that families can enjoy.