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Appaloosa

4.2 out of 5 stars 619 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Appaloosa (DVD)

Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris star with Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger as two gunmen tracking an escaped murderer and a beautiful, dangerous widow with an agenda of her own whose paths collide in the lawless western town of Appaloosa. When Virgil Cole (Harris--A History of Violence) and Everett Hitch (Mortensen--A History of Violence, The Lord of the Rings films) arrive in Appaloosa, they find a small, dusty town suffering at the hands of a renegade rancher with so little regard for the law that he has taken supplies, horse and women for his own and left the city marshal and one of his deputies for dead. Cole and Hitch, itinerant lawmen, are used to cleaning up after opportunistic thieves, but this time they find an unusually wily adversary--one who raises the stakes not by playing with the rules, but with emotions.

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The Western has been an endangered species, on and off, for something like 40 years now. Welcome to Appaloosa, Ed Harris's film of the Robert B. Parker novel--first because it exists at all, but even more because Harris as star, director, and co-screenwriter (with Robert Knott) has managed to bring it to the screen with no hint of fuss or strain, as if the making of no-nonsense, copiously pleasurable Westerns were still something Hollywood did with regularity. Harris plays Virgil Cole, one of those ace gunfighter-lawmen whose name need only be mentioned to make a saloon go still. Cole and his shotgun-toting partner Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) accept a commission to enforce law and order in the New Mexico town of Appaloosa. That basically means protect it from rapacious rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons, looking right at home on the range), who murdered the previous town marshal like swatting a fly. Life becomes complicated when, about the time Bragg has been jailed to await trial, a fancy-dressing piano player calling herself Mrs. French (Renée Zellweger) steps down off the train. Cole commences to have feelings, and as he ruefully reminds Hitch, "Feelin's can get ya killed."

In his second directorial effort (following the 2000 biopic Pollock), Harris takes his cue from novelist Parker's often deadpan-comic touch, allowing action and character to accumulate in accordance with an overall eccentric rhythm. (The film's main disappointment is that it would benefit from more running time to allow things to stew a bit longer, especially in the second half.) The character work is choice, from the moment Tom Bower, James Gammon, and Timothy Spall step into view as Appaloosa's civic leaders; the director's father Bob Harris contributes a cameo as a mellifluous-tongued circuit judge, and an age-thickened Lance Henriksen turns up midfilm as gunman Ring Shelton, trailing affability and menace. In collaboration with Dances With Wolves cameraman Dean Semler, Harris sets up shots and scenes in such a way that we often see into and out of Appaloosa's various buildings simultaneously, to excellent dramatic and atmospheric effect, and there's a thrillingly vertical dynamics to a scene involving a train at an isolated water stop. The action is lethal when it needs to be, but never dwelt upon. "That was over quick," Hitch observes after one gun battle. Cole's response says it all: "Everybody could shoot." --Richard T. Jameson


Special features

Commentary by Director Ed Harris and Screenwriter/Producer Robert Knott - Additional Scenes with Selectable Ed Harris/Robert Knott Commentary - Corral of 4 Insightful Featurettes: Bringing the Characters of Appaloosa to Life; Historic Accuracy of Appaloosa; The Town of Appaloosa; Dean Semlers Return to the Western

Product details

  • Actors: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons, Renée Zellweger, Timothy Spall
  • Directors: Ed Harris
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, Subtitled, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: WarnerBrothers
  • DVD Release Date: January 13, 2009
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 619 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B001LRJH0U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,749 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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