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Appaloosa [DVD]
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on 4 March 2017
I'm not really a western fan but I'd heard good things about this film and the cast that I thought I'd give it ago. Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris play friends and law enforcers for hire Virgil Cole (Harris) and Deputy Everett Hitch (Mortensen) who are hired to police the town of Appaloosa when the Sheriff is killed. Renee Zellweger arrives in town with nothing but a dollar to her name and her looks, she soon falls for Virgil and they start to build and house in town but the local ranch owner and murderer Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) sets his sights on her. Cole and Hitch fight to the death to try and bring Bragg to justice for the murder of the town Sheriff. Features lots of shooting and frantic horse riding and a kidnapping, Jeremy Irons is at his best playing the bad guy Randall Bragg but will he get away with murder? Also stars Timothy Spall, and Lance Henriksen. This film has brilliant reviews but I found it hard to follow and a bit boring at times.
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VINE VOICEon 7 February 2017
Ed Harris & Viggo Mortensen are epically good in this film about two lawmen gun for hire type friends, managing to convey a long friendship, simply with looks showing their class as actors, backed up with excellent performances by Jeremy Irons, Timothy Spall, Renee Zellweger, easily one of the best westerns I have ever seen, it's not all guns blazing, but when there is menace and action it's convincing! Loved it!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 October 2016
This is a very worthwhile watch. The scenery is beautiful and the sets very authentic. The acting, as one would expect, with the experienced cast on board, is first class. It was nice to see Timothy Spall in a western!
The plot is not particularly original or gripping, the characters though are full of interest. I did like Jeremy Iron’s role as the baddie and Rene Zellweger’s rode everything! Quite what the sheriff saw in her is beyond me?
This Western has all the usual traits for Wild West fans: gunslingers, Indians, salons, whores, shootouts, a love interest for the cowboys and a really authentic Iron Horse which was lovely on the eye. The highlight for me though was definitely the cinematography which was outstanding and filmed in New Mexico, Arizona & Texas.
This is a thoroughly decent watch without ever hitting ‘outstanding’ on the westernometer. I would give it 7/10 and did enjoy it.
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on 16 December 2014
Superb laconic Western, based on the Robert B Parker novel. Cole and Hitch are old-fashioned lawmen, called in to clean up a town which a local rancher (Jeremy Irons) has effectively taken over, having killed the previous sheriff. C & H's tough brand of peace-keeping doesn't always go down well with the local merchants who are their employers, but that's par for the course. Matters are complicated by a lady, of course, and Cole's dalliance with Mrs French creates problems both in terms of emotions and lawkeeping.

The brilliance of this film is in the relationship between Cole (Ed Harris) and Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), the top gunslinger aspiring to gentility and the war-weary West Point graduate. The film hews very close to the original book, especially in the terse dialogue between the two main characters, which is very amusing at times. One of the best Westerns ever, IMHO.

If you like it, you should read the book, and its sucessors - Brimstone, Resolution, and Blue-Eyed Devils
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on 23 September 2012
"Appaloosa" verges on being a great film. I many respects, it is a traditional Western and not at all revisionist. You could almost count off the stereotypical scenes in the film whether they be the stand offs in the saloon, the steam train going over the wooden bridge, an Indian raid and a duel with the principle baddie. However, there are many other aspects that make this wholly original, not least the tight and laconic dialogue. Even the Miles Davis' inspired trumpet in the film score matches the nature of the two main protagonists. Needless to say, this is a strong cast and the acting is of the top notch. For me, "Appaloosa" benefits from two exceptionally strong leads and a fascinating female lead in Renee Zellwigler whose character is far from the demure ladies you find in most other Westerns. The dialogue feels contemporary and accurate.

The whole of the film is strongly character driven but also includes some wonderful sets and nice period touches. The film feels authentic not only in it's setting but also the dialogue - Ed Harris' character experiences difficulty with large words and both him and his partner Viggo Mortensen are nicely etched to become characters as fascinating as the kind of cowboy played by Clint Eastwood in the old spaghetti Westerns even if this is far from the usual cinematic expectations. I felt that they both had a terrific rapport in this film and, in my estimation, this is very much the main interest in this film - for large parts of this film the scenes consist of two cowboys simply chewing over the fat. They are almost like a married couple in some respects.

In my opinion, this is a good film and only it's slow-ish pace lets it down as not being an all-time classic. I agree totally with the earlier observation that this film does have the making of a cult film. There always seems to have been a need for each generation of film maker to re-define the Western from the 1950's heyday where the action could be fast and furious but often resembled "Tom and Jerry" in stetsons i n it's cartonnish violence. In the 1990's kevin Costner seem to recast the Western as a hero for Guardian readers but in "Appaloosa" Ed Harris has fashioned an alternative which harks back to the golden era of John Wayne yet offers two far more faceted heroes and a baddie in Jeremy Irons who is creepy as opposed to threatening. The violence is generally limited to sporadic and sudden shoot-outs but this is one Western where the lines certainly hit all their targets. This is a re-freshing piece of film making and an enjoyable piece of film making.
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on 13 March 2014
Appaloosa is an American western based on the 2005 novel, Appaloosa, by crime writer Robert B. Parker. Directed by Ed Harris and co-written by Harris and Robert Knott, Appaloosa stars Harris alongside Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger and Jeremy Irons. The film premiered in the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and was released in selected cities on September 19, 2008, then expanded into wide-release on October 3, 2008.

The movie shares some narrative similarities with the 1959 Western Warlock, directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Henry Fonda, Anthony Quinn and Richard Widmark. There is also a 1966 Western named The Appaloosa which stars Marlon Brando, but the two films are unrelated.
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on 23 May 2014
Best seen in blu ray. It is said "for something to happen, there must be the time the place and the person/s". Well, in this film the place is Appaloosa,the people are Ed Harris and Viggo Mortenson as the good guys, Jeremy Irons as the bad-guy and Renee Zellweger as a strumpet. The trouble is Ed Harris as producer/directer allows the action to wander off the beaten track and away from the eponymous town into the.surrounding desert where it gets lost. Eastwood's "Unforgiven" and Costner's "Open Range" show how it should be done.
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on 18 July 2017
WOW. What a great movie. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen brilliant
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on 14 March 2017
Similar story to Clint Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter" where a Marshall and his deputy is hired to kill outlaws running riot in a gold-digging town. Only this movie is badly made and much slower so be prepared to drift off and go asleep.
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2010
This is an odd film that seems betwixt and between many of the elements of a large and distinguished genre, but I felt we were in UNFORGIVEN territory. At times the film is rather too wordy, yet at others with some good bursts of action (and a rocking 8 bore).

Sometimes these self-directed/produced films have too reverential an air for their subject; at times I felt we were drawing nearer to that point only to have events move on. A lot of the weight is carried by Viggo who looks like he stepped out of a period photograph.
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