Customer Reviews: Appaloosa [Blu-ray]
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on September 27, 2012
Ed Harris decided to take a stab at the western genre, and the result is not a predictable film. He directs Appaloosa and also plays Virgil Cole, a good guy gunman who hires out with his partner, Everett (Viggo Mortensen) to clean the bad guys out of Western towns. Jeremy Irons plays the bad guy in the town of Appaloosa. The woman in the story is Renee Zellweger. Harris makes good use of this fine cast to tell a story with subtlety and insight into the characters. Virgil and Everett's friendship is marked by its honesty and trust and their ability to expertly handle the complications that arise in gunfights, negotiating with townspeople and Indians, releasing hostages, and such. Their biggest challenge is dealing with the widow that Virgil falls for. Zellweger's Allison French reveals the vulnerable situation of women in such a society. What looks like superficial promiscuity on her part is actually a strong instinct for survival. The gunfights are interesting and well done, but the best part is the slow-paced dialogue and meaningful glances. A fine film.
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on February 28, 2014
I chose the five star rating for Appaloosa because the film appears flawless in almost every respect. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen exemplify the strong, silent type of western heroes who live their code of life on a deep level. Their feelings run deep, and they do not use words to deceive but to express what they are willing to live and die for. They trust each other when tempted by a situation that would destroy most other friendships with jealousy. The film's violence is never gratuitous, but unavoidable when their code leaves them no other alternative. Bragg represents a threat to Everett's friend Cole, Everett risks his own life to mete out justice to the cold-blooded killer of their old friend. Bragg also threatens to destroy Cole's relationship with the woman he loves, besides corrupting the whole town of Appaloosa. Friendship prevails over "taking the easy way out" or shallow rationalization. This film glorifies strength of character, the bond of friendship, the conviction supported by ideals deeper than mere intellectualization. As I said, the film deserves to be a classic. We need men like this today. They are always in short supply and rarely appreciated.
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on February 17, 2012
This movie is among my favorites. If you enjoy true, honest dialog between characters, then you will appreciate this movie. There is no Hollywood hype to be found. This movie reminded me of Silverado, The Lonesome Dove series and Open Range. I felt like I was "there".

The story centers on a longtime friendship, and trusting relationship of two very likable characters from the old West. These two men had no angst or meaningless internal struggles with right and wrong. There are no "comedy of errors" or "hidden plot twists" for the audience to endure. (thankfully). The story moves along at an acceptable speed, and you never have to make excuses for your favorite character. If it takes explosions and filthy language to excite your movie watching, then you will be disappointed. But if you like a good story, then you should consider this movie.
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on November 9, 2014
Virgil Cole (played by producer and director Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) are mercenary lawmen hired by a small town to reign in the excesses of local cattle baron Randal Bragg (Jeremy Irons). Add into the mix a legal system that doesn't always work, more hired guns with not-so-noble intentions along with a faithless love interest and you have a very engaging Western drama employing a distinctive "you-are-there" feel.

Lacking any hint of artificiality, nostalgia, cliché antiheroes or political correctness, "Appaloosa" feels authentic to the point I suspect that this was how it may have been to watch Western films during the genre's golden age of the 40's and 50's. :o)
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on May 14, 2011
The horrible miscasting of Renee Zellweger. Wholly unbelievable in her role as 'Yoko' to the two-man gun-toting horse-riding Beatles.

Otherwise, this was an excellent movie. The indomitable energy that Ed Harris carries, both as performer and director, was only bolstered by the granite that is Viggo Mortensen.

Kudos to both steely jawed actors - they were absolutely perfect in their respective roles. And notice how deep Mortensen got into his role: Check out the forehead tan line from wearing a hat. That's pure Method on display, and I'm very appreciative of it. Hardcore acting there brother.

An old school cowboy narrative - and for me, it's never gone out of style. Harris does a sturdy job of creating the nascent explosive undercurrent that I've only seen Eastwood do better in a modern western.

And props to Harris for hiring Lance Henriksen. It's not an understatement to say that he's been underutilized for years - forced to take paycheck jobs instead of performing for an audience who can appreciate his talents. I do wonder if Harris made friends with him during the shooting of 'The Right Stuff'. Not all ensemble casts end up lifelong friends, but I like to think so.

This would've been an easy four-stars for me, but Zellweger's maddeningly oafish overacting is not something you can ignore. Her character is critical to the plot, and her plastic ingratiating performance detracts from the entire production. One has to wonder how Harris was conned into having her in the film, I suspect some serious arm-twisting. No way an actor's actor like him could've been that fooled by her ridiculously inflated resumé. The question is who put the pressure on for her hiring?
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on January 3, 2015
A very unpredictable Western with complex characters that stays within a certain reality. Right when you think you have a character figured out they surprise you. It's not a good versus evil film, but there is both good and evil conflicting, it is more about the interactions of people shaped by the Western culture. The characters are complex and believable with solid acting. What you don't want to do is give up on this film, Rene Zellweger is annoying at first, but she is supposed to be, so don't give up on her character.
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on May 2, 2014
I fell in love with all of Robert B. Parker's books and his Westerns with Hitch and Cole are SO good! So when I saw there was a DVD of his first Hitch and Cole novel, Appaloosa and with Viggo Mortensen, well I had to have it. AND it did not disappoint me. It is true to the book, which many movies aren't, and keeps you riveted to your chair throughout. AND the good guys win in the end - my favorite thing about westerns and movies in general. The dialogue is a little hard to hear so you have to crank up the volume but it's a small price to pay for an excellent movie. I'm only sorry they only did one movie on this series because it is so good. Once you watch this movie, if you haven't read Parker's westerns, you'll find yourself looking for them. And you won't be disappointed.
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on August 25, 2014
Great! - Of course the acting from these two GREAT Stars is flawless! Ed Harris' Direction is right on the Money AND Jeremy Irons is pitch perfect as the Evil Force essential in any good action packed shoot em up AND there is that aplenty! OH and Renee Zellwinger gives her usual nuanced performance as a quirky and unusual love interest - it is so good!

An exciting narrative! - i would put it up there with 'the Unforgiven" (almost)

You will walk away feeling GOOD!
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on August 29, 2013
Appaloosa is one of the finest unsung westerns in my opinion. Perhaps in the top five of the last 20 years. There's not a lot to say that hasn't been said. The cast is superb (with the exception of Renee Zellwegger; she's not terrible but I too feel she was miscast). The direction by Harris is very solid. The film transfer is very good and the sound is great. I'd give this a solid four out of five for the technical aspects (ie sound and image) and five out of five for the actual film. For my money it has some of the best gun battles ever committed to film- far more realistic than is typically portrayed.

Don't miss out on this underrated gem, especially since the BD disc is currently under eight bucks!
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on June 9, 2014
Outstanding western tale really tells the story of two lawmen for hire and their relationship with each other. It plays out as they are brought into the town of Appaloosa to protect the citizens from an out of control cattle baron and the complicated love interest that the Ed Harris character develops. Excellent acting, directing, and character development, along with fine plotting and action, make this western far above the average.
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