Thursday, February 19, 2009

Appaloosa (2008)

Movie quotes:
Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons): You a drinking man, Marshall?
Virgil Cole (Ed Harris): Not so much.
Randall Bragg: And, uh…Mr. 8 gauge over there?
Virgil Cole: Mr. Everett Hitch
Randall Bragg: You a drinking man, Everett?
Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen): Not so much.
Randall Bragg: Hard to like a man who doesn’t drink a little.
Virgil Cole: But not impossible.

Everett: You got feelings about Allie, don’t you?
Virgil: I cared about Allie in town, and I’ll care about her when I get her back, but right now, there’s somethin’ runnin’, and we’re trying to catch it.

[after a shoot-out]
Everett Hitch: That was quick.
Virgil Cole: Yeah, everybody could shoot.

Allison French: You're a bastard! Don't listen to him. He tried to put his hands on me when I showed him our house.
Everett Hitch: No, Virgil. I did not.
Virgil Cole: No, Allie. Everett didn't do that.
Allison French: You believe him over me?
Virgil Cole: That's correct.

At a glance:
Appaloosa emulates the classic western; it has modest ambitions, and relies on its quieter moments to produce a memorable chemistry between its two protagonists

Our review:
Two professional gunmen/lawmen, Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) ride into a lawless town that is controlled by the unscrupulous murderer Randall Bragg and his gang. Hired to clean up the town, Cole and Hitch start by writing their own strict laws regarding the reach of their own power (which is absolute). Order is restored, but the pursuit of Bragg for murder and the arrival of young widow Allison French (Renée Zellweger) cause complications. Ed Harris, directed, starred, and co-wrote this elegantly simple, low-budget western that sticks closely to the feel of a good B movie of the 40s/50s. Harris and Mortensen give the feeling that they really have been partners for ages. Jeremy Irons does an above par job of giving a believable rough edge to the baddie. Zellweger isn’t given much to do initially; later, her character deepens a little and her personality becomes more intriguing.

Here’s a little nit: As Virgil and Everett are escorting Randall across the river, they both have their guns pointed at him. He is between the two men. If they do decide to shoot him, there’s a good chance one of the bullets will go straight through him and hit one of them.

Rating: 2.75 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"A gentle, warmly human and quietly compelling western with a wry sense of humour and some engaging performances from a group of fine actors."
-Mike Goodridge (Screen International)


  1. Judy, addicted to Robert B. Parker's novels...August 1, 2009 at 7:46 PM

    I read the book, and was pleasantly surprised that mr. harris stuck to the novel, written by Robert B. Parker, when doing the movie. I always thought viggo mortensen was blue eyed however. I am hoping that there will be sequels to Appaloosa, with the other two Parker westerns, Resolution and Brimstone.

  2. A pleasant surprise on normally dull HBO.
    Very good entertainment with a twist.
    Lonesome Dove Like.
    We need more of these. Looks like a series to me.

  3. I was a Parker fan way back with the 'Hawk' series...glad to see his work translates well to the big screen.

  4. I love the Spencer books. This is my second exposure to Robert B Parker as a western writer--and my first exposure to seeing a Parker novel translated to the screen. I loved all 4 of the main characters as the actors represented them. I have watched this movie many times, and will watch it many more times. In my opinion, it is all in the dialogue. You are not overwhelmed with violence, noise, and vulgar moments. This is a classic.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.