Release Date: 3 October 2008 (USA)
Tagline: Feelings get you killed.
Ed Harris - Virgil Cole
Viggo Mortensen - Everett Hitch
Jeremy Irons - Randall Bragg
Renée Zellweger - Allison French
Not too much happens in the Old Western Town of Appaloosa. Sure, people get shot and drunk and punched and pay for female companionship and break people out of jail and a whole lot more, but generally speaking, not a lot happens in Appaloosa.
That is not to say this film is boring. For my tastes, this movie verged on being great, but ultimately too much in the detail was left out for it to break beyond a simple good movie.
The town is being run over by Rancher Randall Bragg, played with a flair by Jeremy Irons and played quite well, however he seems to have taken too much of a liking to the outstanding performance of Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood, and I could not get past it the entire movie.
Along to save the day are Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), two lawmen who, after being given the power to run things their way, do just that, and the town is slowly brought back to order.
The arrival of Mrs. Allison French (Renee Zellweger) adds some interesting character development to the two men watching over the town, particularly to Cole who quickly falls for her womanly charms like he has never done before. Zellweger’s character, though frankly played very annoyingly early on, actually redeems herself later on by becoming a much more complex role that adds multiple layers to the underlying story.
Throughout the movie there are the slow, sweeping scenes of a dead town and the long, drawn out silences that accompany men who do this type of work. Fair warning to all who do not enjoy slow-paced movies without a lot of bang, relying more on characters and substance, for this movie is not for you.
For my money, though, Harris and Mortensen more than make up for the price of admission, and by the end of the film I feel like both roles were developed nicely and left me with a feeling that the film was complete. To be sure, there were quite a few shaky edits and plot holes that left me feeling a bit bewildered, but overall I enjoyed the genre and the performances.