Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star in this critically-acclaimed romantic adventure from director Ron Howard. This breathtaking epic opens on the west coast of Ireland, 1892. Joseph Donelly (Cruise), a poor tenant farmer, is determined to bring justice to an oppressive landlord. Instead, he finds himself accompanying the landlord's daughter, Shannon (Kidman), to America in a quest for land. Arriving in Boston, Joseph finds a place for them to live while proving a natural at bare-fisted boxing. But his triumph is short-lived as he and Shannon are thrown out into the bitter cold. Joseph sets off for work on the railroad, until a passing wagon train reminds him of his original goal to possess his own land. Preparing to stake his claim in the new territory, he runs into Shannon who is unhappily reunited with her former fiance. In the excitement of the Oklahoma land rush, they realize their dreams of land and life together in this satisfying grand-scale adventure that WNCN Radio calls "Ron Howard's best film - a wondrous epic!"
Filmed in the widescreen splendor of "Panavision Super 70" and blessed with the finest production values that Hollywood clout can buy, this tale of spunky Irish immigrants forgot one crucial ingredient: a decent screenplay. The film is entertaining enough, and director Ron Howard brings his technical proficiency to the simple plot, culminating in a dynamic, breathtaking depiction of the Oklahoma land rush of 1893. But the movie is really just a vacuous vehicle for married stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as (respectively) the poor tenant farmer and rich landlord's daughter who flee Ireland to be American pioneers. The scenery and the stars are never less than stunning, but Howard falls short of the mark in his attempt to match the epic sweep of films by David Lean. On the other hand, this movie is certainly never boring even if it rarely makes sense, and Lean's own Irish epic, Ryan's Daughter
, is a snoozer by comparison. --Jeff Shannon