We finally got around to watching this movie based on the novel by Robert B. Parker. It was nice as always to see the old Western town where it was filmed. (They can call it Appaloosa, but it’ll always be Silverado to me.) The photography is great, with some of the shots so well-composed they look almost like Western paintings. The acting is pretty good, especially Viggo Mortensen as Deputy Everett Hitch, the sidekick to Ed Harris’s Marshal Virgil Cole. (Harris also directed and co-wrote the screenplay.)
I’m afraid that’s about all I can say that’s positive about APPALOOSA, though, as much as I love Westerns and wanted to like it. The pace is so glacially slow that it saps nearly all the life out of the movie. There are a couple of good action scenes, but they’re over quickly (nothing else in the movie is), and the rest of the time is spent with the characters sitting around talking. That may read fast in one of Parker’s novels, but it doesn’t play that way, at least in this movie. Clean up the language a little and you could probably boil this down to a pretty good half-hour TV episode, but as it is, I didn’t like it and don’t recommend it. And it pains me to say that.
WAR HORSES (Part Two) by VONN McKEE
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