tcc: appaloosa

January 8, 2009

“life has a way of making the foreseeable that which never happens… and the unforeseeable that which your life becomes.”

the first half of this film is exactly what i was hoping it would be.  ed harris and viggo mortensen shooting bad guys and just eating up the scenery with grizzled dialogue and awesome hats (and moustaches…or moustache).  but the second half or so of the film just really suffers from an unfocused screenplay and direction.

there’s definitely something interesting to the film.  the entire ed helms viggo relationship is really quite interesting.  i like what harris sort of digs at about justice and vigilantism.  our good guys don’t really think of themselves as good guys, but become sheriffs and deputies of towns because it’s gun work that they get paid for.  viggo’s character himself says that it’s not so much about the morals of the job, but the fact that it is a job.

the film completely looses all of its steam that it builds up so beautifully in the first 45 minutes.  but halfway through new villains are introduced, the old ones don’t show up until the last 15 minutes, and the relationships that form between our two heroes and renee zellwigger’s character just don’t make a whole lot of sense.

i will say that their showdown with the “new” villains in the film is really exciting to watch, and done in a very realistic way and is one of the more brutal scenes i’ve seen all year.  i got to give props to helms for not talking the easy or predictable route in shooting that scene, but shooting it in a disarming kind of way.

if you are a big fan of viggo like i am, then his performance is enough to check out this film.  he is really terrific here, and is warranting a look for some postseason awards.  if you’re looking for a good western then the first half will suffice.

the film also has one of the most haunting stills of the year….

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