Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blackthorn - Movie Review

Blackthorn lifts a page from other Westerns and presents a story  of a well known historical figure that didn't die when previously assumed.  The premise of Blackthorn is that Butch Cassidy didn't die in Bolivia and went into hiding, taking the name of James Blackthorn.  One day, he decides it's time to return home.  This is that story.

Unfortunately, it's a story that didn't need to be told.  Watching Blackthorn is like watching a story about a legendary athlete that's been retired for 30 years, but decides to have one last go at it.  Instead of seeing him in his prime, his knees are gone and his back is killing him.  It's about as exciting as that.

Plus, Blackthorn seemed to be doing fine just hiding out.  It appears he spent his time in hiding training horses, drinking and hooking up with chicks.  His motivation for returning home is explained, but I would have just stayed there.

Anyway, on his way back home, his horse and money is stolen by a Spaniard, played by Eduardo Noriega.  Noriega is on the run from someone he's stolen money from.  He agrees to replay Blackthorn if he helps him get to safety.

Sam Shepard plays Blackthorn and I actually though his performance was good.  It's just about the only thing that I enjoyed about the movie.  Overall, I was kind of bored by this.  As a fan of Westerns, I was really looking forward to watching Blackthorn, but it was more of a chore.  For a movie about guys on the run, it really seemed to drag.

The movie looks really nice, especially once they reach the salt flats, but it seemed like more than once they used the trick of someone approaching from a distance, but you don't know if they are friend or foe until the last minute.  Of course, they get their weapon ready, cause you never know.  Oooooh!  Tension!

I just wasn't very invested in the story.  Occasionaly they would have flashback sequences with Butch Cassidy (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and The Sundance Kid (Pedraic Delaney) that I liked, but that's partially because of Dominque McElligott's appearance as Etta.  It's not that McElligott is a great actress, but more that I've had a thing for her since Moon and I really liked her in The Guard.  However, these flashback scenes don't happen often enough and some of them aren't terribly interesting either.

Overall, I'm torn on this one.  Sam Shepard's carries the movie, but there just isn't much else to enjoy about Blackthorn.  It seemed like a good idea in theory, but it's just not an interesting enough story.  If you're a huge Sam Shepard fan or must watch every Western, then you might enjoy it as a rental, but I'd advise most people to skip it.

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