Filmed in the widescreen splendour of "Panavision Super 70" and blessed with the finest production values that Hollywood clout can buy, this tale of spunky Irish immigrants forgot one crucial ingredient: a decent screenplay. The film is entertaining enough, and director Ron Howard brings his technical proficiency to the simple plot, culminating in a dynamic, breathtaking depiction of the Oklahoma land rush of 1893. But the movie is really just a vacuous vehicle for married stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as (respectively) the poor tenant farmer and rich landlord's daughter who flee Ireland to be American pioneers. The scenery and the stars are never less than stunning, but Howard falls short of the mark in his attempt to match the epic sweep of films by David Lean. On the other hand, this movie is certainly never boring even if it rarely makes sense, and Lean's own Irish epic, Ryan's Daughter
, is a snoozer by comparison. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Ireland, 1892, and Joseph Donelly's father is shot while protesting high rents. Young Joseph (Tom Cruise) is determined to take his revenge and sets out to kill the local landlord, only to have his plan foiled when he is caught by the landlord's daughter Shannon (Nicole Kidman). She is preparing to run away to America and Joseph, who knows an opportunity when he sees one, decides to tag along as her servant. When the pair arrive in the New World, Shannon experiences a poverty she never knew existed, and Joseph attempts to make his fortune by getting involved in the world of bare-knuckle boxing. Things are not going well for either of them, but the chance of better future still beckons, and they head out west, aiming to stake their claim in the wide open spaces of Oklahoma.