Movies Appaloosa (Review and Spoilers)


Film Elitist
Sigh... Where to begin?

You know I wanted to like this movie, I really did and I'm a sucker for good westerns. This movie was everything a good western was not; short changed, poorly written and too dumb-founded to carry it's own weight.

It's yet another reminding example that a good actor cannot necessarily direct... or write for that matter. I've usually been a big fan of Ed Harris in most if not all the films I've seen him in but this put him in the dog house. I was at least hoping for some good cheap action if for lacking all of the above but this was a let-down on all sides.

To begin with, it rushes to the point pretty quickly which isn't like the usual western. Many conventional westerns linger on the prologue (being there is one) and even focus on the antagonist pretty heavily. Even though those are only conventions, "Appaloosa" failed to accomplish what I thought it should've done in the first opening scenes. It failed to demonstrate true moral opposition with the antagonist.

Within the first few minutes of riding over the horizon, Jack Bell bites the dust just as quickly as he came. He's killed by Randal Bragg (Jeremy Irons) whom by alpha-male standards is the main antagonist. As such Jack Bell serves a simple yet short-lived purpose; he's the catalyst that brings the two protagonists into the picture and give them motive to oppose the antagonist. However we get a weak impression as to what the relationship was between the two sheriffs and Jack Bell entails so it doesn't really help empathizing for their loss. It comes across as a shallow vendetta for revenge becoming the headlining plot.

Now I've never been a big fan of Renee Zellweger but she was disdainfully mundane in this role. Everything about her character seemed faker than Pam Anderson's tits and she was a complete whore. I didn't understand Allison's motive for cheating on Virgil (if anything I was expecting him to be unfaithful to her) and I was confused as to whether she was actually collaborating with Randal Bragg or whether she really was just a huge fucking whore after she was naked in the stream with him.

Despite having the poorest character development and a backwash of a plot I was at least hoping for a decent shootout. Fat chance. For what could be remnants of gunslinger moments in this film are all anti-climatic, lack or project weak intimidation and are short lived.

Even the conclusion to the movie bears a very weak effect. There's no strong build up and it's made too easy. None of the unfortunate events really affect the main characters. After Virgil and Everett are shot by Randall and his men it dissolves back to the bar and they're sitting and drinking just fine as if none of the preceding events never took place or are of no mind to the audience.

I'm really not sure what they were going for here but they managed to remove everything from this movie that makes a western a good western. You know what it is? It's an unchallenged western. There's no real heightened risk. The stakes are too low. I don't think there would be an effective way to convince me to care about the story or anyone in it. It's just too uninteresting.
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