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Yojimbo's Movie Reviews (2306)

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Appaloosa (2008) 
"Appaloosa" by Yojimbo
3/4 stars

Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen play a pair of lawmen for hire who are engaged to clean up the frontier town of Appaloosa which is being terrorized by a gang headed up by big city dandy Jeremy Irons. Appaloosa is a western very much from the old school, far more character driven than most of the post Peckinpah/Leone generation and as such felt like a throwback to the days of Anthony Mann and his ilk. It concentrates far more on drama than gunplay which obviously requires quality performances, a task more than ably handled by an excellent ensemble cast. Harris and Mortensen in particular show great chemistry and every scene they share together is eminently watchable. This makes the gaping flaw in the film all the more obvious; namely Renee Zellwegger's painfully clumsy, pudding faced performance that serves no purpose other than to take screen time away from the interesting characters. It's a shame because every other aspect of the film is extremely well done and despite her best efforts to wreck it, I still thought that Appaloosa was one of the better westerns I've seen in recent years.


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