Starring Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, Renee Zellweger, Lance Henriksen, Timothy Spall
Written By: Ed Harris, Robert Knott
Directed By: Ed Harris
Studio: New Line Home Entertainment
Buy on Amazon.com link
I wanted to see Appaloosa in theaters when it originally came out. But figured Ind just wait a few months more to see it on DVD instead. I have been enjoying the latest westerns that have come out and Appaloosa is another one. This film may be a slow one; but it’s still good.
Appaloosa is about 2 friends and hired guns Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) who try to help out a small town called Appaloosa. The town enlists the help of the duo to capture notorious rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) and bring him to justice. He murdered the Marshall of the town, who also was a friend of Cole. While the gunmen are cleaning up the town and applying some laws to Appaloosa, a woman comes into town and gets cozy with Cole. But then she starts to cozy with Hitch as well and then everything gets complicated. The men are tested as friends and as Marshall & Deputy as well.
I thought the film was made really well, the acting was excellent, and the story was interesting. What I didn’t like was the slow pace of it and how there could have been more gunfights & action. I understand that the film was more a character drama than a typical Western movie. But it would have been nice to have a few more action scenes in the film. I also felt that the ending seemed a little bit anti-climatic. What happens just seems too quickly I guess? I kind of said to myself, well why didn’t that happen early on in the film and then save everybody the trouble of watching this? But that’s kind of harsh to say because this isn’t a bad movie. I thought it was very good and entertaining, but you have to be in the right frame of mind to watch it. You can’t expect to see some shoot em up gunslinger western movie.
I thought the chemistry between Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen was very good. That might have been the case because they worked together on A History of Violence. Viggo’s character was intriguing and mysterious. I wish he was the lead actor and Ed Harris was more of the sidekick. That’s not a knock as Harris at all. Ed Harris does a fine job with doing triple duty (acting, directing, screenplay). I liked how his character couldn’t pronounce certain words. It was just a small quirk I liked. Jeremy Irons was excellent as Bragg and his real accent didn’t really come through while doing the southern accent. How come we haven’t see Irons in more westerns? I can’t stand Renee Zellweger but she was okay in this movie. It was a typical performance from her. I didn’t really like her character Allison and thought it was a distracting. But that’s the kind of the point.
The Appaloosa DVD extras include commentary with Ed Harris and Robert Knott, deleted scenes and a few featurettes. The deleted scenes were really good and added more depth to some of the characters. I’m sure they were cut for time restraints. The scene where Bragg announces that he bought the hotel/saloon should have been included. The featurettes are your standard featurettes that featured interviews, behind the scenes on the set and things like that.
Appaloosa isn’t your typical western film. It’s at a slower pace but you never get bored with the story. I do think the film could have been either trimmed up or had a little bit more action in it. The pacing at times was a little off but that’s just a minor negative in my mind. If you enjoy westerns like Unforgiven and Open Range, Appaloosa is a movie you need to see!
– Commentary by Director Ed Harris and Screenwriter/Producer Robert Knott
– Additional Scenes with Selectable Ed Harris/Robert Knott Commentary
– Corral of 4 Insightful Featurettes: Bringing the Characters of Appaloosa; Historic Accuracy of Appaloosa; The Town of Appaloosa; Dean Semler’s Return of the Western
ENGLISH: DD-Plus 5.1
Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Standard 1.33:1 Color
Favorite Scenes: jurisdiction scene, the showdown towards the end, scenes between Everett and Virgil on the porch talking about Allison
Running Time: 115 minutes