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A good new age western is a rare thing, which is also a reason why not too many of them get made now days. Ed Harris tried but also he failed with this movie.

Ed Harris directed, wrote, produced and acted in this movie. So you really could say that this was his project and it also does really feel like his own personal project, which in this case isn't really a positive thing to say. It's like he woke up one day and said to himself; 'I really want to do a western!' and threw about every cliché thinkable in to a script and called a couple of his Hollywood friends to ask to help him out with making this movie. This movie really doesn't feel like one that would had been made and released in theaters if it didn't had Ed Harris his name and that of others attached to it already.

One of the things with this movie is that it really isn't a very interesting one. First of all, the characters really aren't much interesting or likable enough, despite of all of the fine actors portraying them. But the story itself also feels far too simplistic. It makes some very sudden jumps and the movie just never seems able to find its right pace.

Like basically every western it picks a slow pace but this can only work if your characters are still solid and likable enough to carry your movie. In this movie that obviously isn't the case. It also really hasn't got the right story and setup for that kind of approach. The story actually asked for a far faster pace, with also more action in it. That way the movie would at least had been somewhat more entertaining to watch.

The characters don't really work out on their own but also really not with each other. I can't really see being Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen being friends for life and always ride and stick together everywhere, no matter what. But also the whole love angle with the Ed Harris and Renée Zellweger character works far from convincing. And what ever happened to Renée Zellweger's career by the way? Her picks of movies has been pretty poorly the last couple of years.

Also a real shame how they treat Jeremy Irons in this movie. When you have Jeremy Irons as the villain for your movie, you need to give him far more interesting and good things to do. Make him more evil. Let the audience hate him! That way the audience might had also cheered more for the 'good' guys Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. Now it instead feels like a very shallow and disjointed movie, with a shallow story and shallow characters in it. The movie is really lacking the right depth and emotions that are needed for this type of western.

Only thing that still keeps things going and prevent it from being a complete disaster are its actors. Man, I really can't imaging how badly I would had hated this movie if it had a couple of unknown and bad actors in it. Even though none of the characters really work out, the performance by most of the actors are still fine. So you could instead really blame the writing but also really the very bland, inexperienced, lacking directing from Ed Harris for making this movie and its characters not work out as they were supposed to.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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