| Billy Bob Thornton
has now totally redeemed himself from the Pushing
Working with Matt Damon, whose
performance in The Talented Mr. Ripley outshone
Kevin Workaday Spacey immensely last year, Thornton
delivers a film that will be regarded much more highly in the future than now.
For some reason, though, people
are staying away from this. Maybe it is just not a socially right time for a
western film, maybe it is the intentionally tepid panorama of the film, maybe
there is no reason.
Perhaps the film's greatest flaw
is that it never really rises above the level of believability - but that is
precisely the point. It is not too hard to imagine the situations happening to
us, and Thornton makes wise use of that to take us into a moderate journey
Secondarily, the passions
inflamed by the circumstances yield no resolution - there are no major
showdowns in the film - but things happen and tick along at a clockwork pace.
Maybe intensifying the story, manipulating its impact would have made it more
exciting, but that then pushes it above the realm of real
Henry Thomas shines as the
suffering pal who pays for Damon's indiscretions, and Lucas Black expands his
repertoire of "off" characters as the lightning rod for a tragic
self-inflicted chain of events.
Flaws in Cole's character are not
that great, especially compared to his good ones, but his personal problem is
his inability to stay out of harm's way, even when he sees it miles away. I
suppose there is a resoluteness about the boy-man as he sets off to find
adventure south of the border, but this (apparently family) trait of blindness
is why he will ever search for happiness.
Bruce Dern is the father figure
that does not appear in Cole's life until after the journey. Though he does not
grant absolution he does dispense justice, and that contrasted with the
imprisonment and torture suffered by Cole in Mexico brings a measure of faith
back to the good ol' USofA's way of doing things.
With such a moderate story in
evidence, I wonder why anyone would look at "All The Pretty Horses"
and go "Boy! There's a great movie waiting to happen!". It just is
not slam-bang in any sense of the words - perhaps due to faithfulness to the
book, perhaps just to create a western with some pretty
I am glad to see Thornton has
more to offer, and I look forward to his hand in thought provoking