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THE BEST: If there is anything that brings Shadowheart to life, it is the wonderful acting by Angus MacFayden (Saw V, Californication) who portrays an absolutely WONDERFUL villian in the murderous mayor Will Tunney. MacFayden undoes at least a little bit of the damage done by the overall stiff acting and awkward dialogue ("Dead or alive? I prefer...dead!") It is not exaggeration to say that if MacFayden hadn't been cast in the role he was, I'd have given the film two less stars.
THE WORST: What really killed this film is the very wandering plot (guy sees his father die, fights in the civil war, comes back to hometown, gets married, attempts to lock up fathers killder...). In addition, the dialogue and plot line has a bit too many cliches for me.
My reccomendation? With its meandering plot, dearth of suspense, and cheesy dialogue, you should pass.
James Conners played by Justin Ament goes off to grow up and joins the ranks in the Civil War, witnessing horrific acts and learning to survive. He returns to avenge his father and marry the girl he left behind, Mary Cooper played by Marnie Alton.
They marry but do not live for long in happiness for she is killed and thanks to Native American Indians, James Conners in the end avenges his father, finding peace and living up to the image of Shadowheart, a transformed individual thanks to his experiences while living with his Navajo friends.
The movie is predictable, the characters are not well developed, and while the filming scenes are enjoyable, we found this movie lacking the style of great westerns.
The movie itself is a little slow paced, yet the story itself is engaging with a few glimpses into some great potential. The actors do a great job in their parts. You will recognize a few of them. Telling is the work of Angus MacFadyen (who played Robert the Bruce in Braveheart). He is the bad guy in the movie, and you really get this gut wrenching feeling about the character, so he really does a great job. Frankly, we get the bad guys always looking smart or clean, but this guy is just an ugly mess. Great performance.
The movie is soft on language and not much if any gore. Although the violence is not completely off screen, there is no spurting blood everywhere when someone gets shot, so at least, you are more into the story than the gore.
Justin Ament is fairly new to me, so I was impressed with his acting, very serious brooding character who has flashes of insight on where he needs to be as a person.
I liked this movie and rated it a 4 for overall, yet the story line itself would be a 5. It made me feel a little like Unforgiven as far as the feel of the screen work. It could have used a little more on the wide view or panorama view to get a larger feel. I think it would make a great TV pilot and would make a good TV show like Lonesome Dove.
The only negative I felt that there were too many lines to follow, his childhood, the Civil War, the run in with the Indians, the train and the bad guy. More focus by taking one of the items out would have helped.
The plot, briefly, is typical Western fare. A preacher is killed, the son goes off and comes back years later for revenge.
Cinematically, this feels like a Halmark or Disney channel made-for-T.V. movie. Having grown up on the films of Sergio Leone, I have a love of Westerns where you can feel the grit. Where you can smell the stink coming off the actors on the screen. In "Shadowheart", everyone has perfectly shampooed hair and bright clean clothes. Even after a fight, characters have perfectly and artistically applied dirt and blood to their clothes. The most hilarious is the main character's glued on mustache when he returns to town, to let you know he's a "tough guy".
The writing and acting, for the most part, is fairly dreadful. The "bad guys" are the most hilarious of caricatures. Black Bart meets Yosemite Sam. The Navajo are portrayed as both the "noble savage" and as the "magical healers". Two stereotypes for the price of one. The railroad surveyors are hilarious anachronisms.
The only saving grace for this movie is that, in spite of its relatively safe PG-13 approach to filming and story, there is a surprising amount of darkness to the film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a good movie, but I hated the ending. LOVED Michael Spears, though! "This is why I like this plan!" That was the best line of the whole movie. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Loving It
Saw the last half of Shadowheart on tv, it caught my attention so I ordered it from Amazon. It has its quirks but I really like this movie. Love the theme song. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Jeanie Bays
Daniel Baldwin is listed as the actor but he had a very, very small role. It was an okay movie, not spectacular. Read morePublished 21 months ago by MaineOne
this is one of my favorite movies. of all time. Shadowheart is a romantic western that that should be liked by everyone.
I find this movie to be very well crafted, with good photography, story, and acting.
Technical Details: Widescreen, Dolby Surround 5. Read more
I'm painfully watching it now. Gotta finish it just bcs I would feel even more raped if I didn't.
Horrible horrible horrible.
It's just all bad. Read more
SHADOWHEART is a Western that contains just about every cliche you could imagine from a Western...all of it delivered clumsily and with almost no new spin. Read morePublished on October 22, 2011 by RMurray847