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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 24 January 2009
Saw this a week ago, and i was not expecting too much going in, but i was
very impressed by this western, it had a classic feel to it, which is great as some westerns are too action biased, and have little story or feel to them.
Very pleasantly surprised, if you like westerns, you have to see this.
(and i agree it really deserves more than a one star review)
0Comment| 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This movie is the most authentic looking western I have seen since Clint got down and gritty with the wonderful 'Unforgiven'. Yes the story has probably been done before but so has every story ever written ultimately, but not as well on every occasion as this has been done. Excellent performances all round by an all star cast. I would point out that the picture quality is so good that it isn't worth buying the blu-ray edition.
55 comments| 68 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
"Appaloosa" could in no way be described as a revisionist Western, it is firmly rooted in the old school. And what is wrong with that? The Western has been successful since the silent era and seems to have had a recent mini revival. This film was co directed by Ed Harris who also co wrote the screenplay. He also showed his ability to multi task by taking one of the lead roles. It would certainly appear to be a labour of love for him. This is Harris's second foray into the directors chair after his successful "Pollock" (2000)

The film which has no connection with Marlon Brando's 1966 film "The Appaloosa", is set in New Mexico in 1882 in the fictional town of Appaloosa. The local citizens having witnessed the brutal murder of the town Marshall by the evil Randall Bragg played by Jeremy Irons, hire two lawman to bring law and order to the town. Queue Virgil Cole played by Harris and his reticent partner Everett Hitch played by Viggo Mortenson. Both men are fast with their guns, and they need to be for they are quickly called into action. Hitch has an 8 Guage shotgun which goes everywhere he goes, and is almost like a third character. The dynamics are changed by the arrival of Ally French played by an alluring Renee Zellweger who sets her sights on Cole. Of course things head toward an inevitable showdown with Bragg.

The films central concern is the relationship between the films two main characters. This same fierce loyalty bears great similarities to that fine western "Warlock" (1959) where Henry Fonda and Anthony Quinn also play two lawmen brought to a Western town to restore justice. That films central theme was also the strong bond of friendship between the two main protagonists. Mortenson and Harris worked well together on "A History of Violence" and that teamwork shows in the effective way they develop the on screen friendship. There is a lot of amusing interplay between the two. If you are looking for a film with lots of action then you may find this film a little slow going.

Of the very recent Westerns, alongside Brad Pitts "The assassination etc etc", I feel this is the best, resting as it does on character development rather than all out action. "3.10 to Yuma" was fun, but it lost a bit of street cred with Christian Bale's one legged hero, who was so agile that he could have represented China in the gymnastics at the Beijing Olympics. "The Missing" was marred by the silly sorcery bit and "Seraphim Falls" by its bizarre ending. "Appaloosa" deserved a wider release in the UK. It is a very well crafted film which has a consummate eye for period detail even including the glass windows of the period. The cinematography was by the highly respected Australian Dean Semler and it is a credit to him. No it is not a classic in the vein of "The Searchers" or "The Wild Bunch" but it is still a very good film, and I have a feeling it will date better than many of the Oscar and BAFTA winners for this year. We shall see! For lovers of the Western especially this is an excellent addition to your collection. May the revival continue.

A final tip. Let the credits run and listen to firstly "Scare Easy" by the great Tom Petty and Mudcrutch which is a superb song, then listen to "You'll never Leave my Heart" co written and performed by guess who? Yes the versatile Mr Harris. He's no Johnny Cash, but he ain't bad! Enjoy.
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on 1 April 2011
First off, you must watch the extras because there is some really interesting stuff in them, changes to the set, the amount of authenticity etc. The Actors and many of the crew actually gave their time for free or at less than the normal rate because they were so impressed with the script. The director points out some of the stuff that you don't really notice but that adds to the 'feel' of the movie. I was actually prompted to read further about the 'old west' having seen this film.

My only disappointment is that many of the deleted scenes would have actually added a lot to the movie, but pressures on run time meant that they were left out. I do hope that they make a Directors cut of this film, although I don't suppose it's going to happen after 3 years since the original issue.

I bought this along with 'the assassination of Jesse James by the coward, .. etc', which is a truly awful movie in comparison to this one.
11 comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
There are two tough partners in justice Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) that have been riding together for more than one decade and they understand each other just fine… So they're not initially supposed to talk about their easy, warm, intuitive solidarity… We intuitively catch there's something between them, that special bond, that profound respect, and obviously that sense of esteem, of attention and sympathy and most of all each other's needs…

Ed is particularly fine… It may not be a romantic conception, but he gives his role great vitality… He's melancholy, laconic and assured as the cool, nerveless professional hired gun who becomes the town's peace keeper... His justice is rapid and simple… Follow his law or get locked up; if you deny, you're going to be shot… He's also very faithful, and you see this in his friendship with Everett Hitch…

Virgil trusts Everett completely because Everett is very sincere and truthful with him…

With his formidable shotgun, Everett is a kind of Virgil's straight man, his worshiping right hand and conscience… Mortensen is a sharpshooter… He's never seen on foot, in any scene, without his huge weapon… His heavy rifle has become almost another character in the film… It doesn't matter where, either in his hands or right next to him… And that's in the bar, in the restaurant, in the office, and even in the bedroom…

Renee Zellweger plays the role of Allison French, a mysterious woman who seduces everyone…After Cole and Hitch meet her in a restaurant, they knew that she is a refined widow, that she arrives to the brutal New Mexico town with one dollar in her purse, that she plays piano and likes to be called Allie…

Cole takes a liking to her, and makes a very tough decision to stick with her… Zellweger plays the malicious new-gal with a great sense of sweetness and gaiety… She brings liveliness and refinement to her role…

Another strong character in "Appaloosa" is the miscreant cold-hearted rancher Randall Bragg… The film starts with the killing of the town's last Marshall and his deputies at the hands of the nefarious Bragg played by Jeremy Irons… Bragg is a wealthy man whose ranch henchmen run menacingly and aggressively over the town…

"Appaloosa" is a Western of real depth and sophistication… Every punch seen in the film is like a word of dialog moving the story forward, creating tension and drama…
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on 17 January 2009
Having recently watched "3:10 from Yuma", I rented this film while being in the mood for good old fashioned entertainment.
The dialogue between the two main characters is great and worth watching alone. Ignore the one star review, this is a real treat for fans of westerns.
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on 17 January 2009
Taken from Robert Parkers novel of the same name this film pretty well touches all the bases that a good western should.Mortenson and Harris do sterling jobs and catch the laconic friendship of Parker's characters well... even Rene wotsherface who usually annoys the hell out of me turns in a decent performance as do the other character actors who populate all the usual traditional western roles.

Its not to Ford or Eastwood standards but its a good enjoyable film with some 'knowing' humour running through it and good solid performances to it as well. The film knows what its doing and works just fine and I'm happy to reccomend it without overstating its case.

Good enjoyable stuff ...
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on 26 January 2009
I did watch it 2 days ago and I was impressed & thrilled over this western. They still know (Ed Harris-the director) how to make it. Cast is great, director playing the main role (Ed Harris), then Mr. Aragorn from the LOTR - WOW=> Viggo Mortensen again showed that is just better and better in every role. Hats off again Viggo!! Also like Jeremy Irons and Renee too. I enjoyed in '3 some' conversation-not much words, but looking and observing Viggo's face was the best performance for me!
(One star review - agreed with the others - pls.just skip it&don't read 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 10 February 2013
Quite simply the best Western movie ever made. Great attention to correct period clothing, firearms, saddlery & harness & mode of speech. Many Western movies are entertaining but fall short in accuracies of the period. This film is set in 1882 & every item is correct for the period. Acting by all cast members is excellent, especially Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen & Jeremy Irons. Buy it & enjoy!
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