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All The Pretty Horses

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: All The Pretty Horses

Starring: Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz
Director: Billy Bob Thorton
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 117 Minutes
Release Date: December 2000
Genres: Drama, Romance, Western

*Also starring: Lucas Black, Ruben Blades, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick, Bruce Dern

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Susan Granger review follows movie review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie review
3.  Edward Johnson-Ott read the review ---
4.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

As muddy and meandering as the Rio Grande, this 1940's Western is the soggy saga of two buddies, Matt Damon and Henry Thomas (the "E.T." kid, now grown up), who ride across the border from Texas to Mexico to be real cowboys. Faithfully adapted by Ted Tally from Cormac McCarthy's fascinating novel, the concept is never fully realized by director Billy Bob Thornton. Instead, the pace is confusing and uneven, nuances that define the characters are under-developed, even the visual style is inconsistent. As the episodic story unfolds, Damon and Thomas are joined on the trail by a cocky kid, Lucas Black ("Sling Blade") who is obviously riding a stolen horse and carrying a stolen gun. They suspect he's going to be trouble - and he is. Then there's the seduction of Damon by Penelope Cruz, the lusty daughter of the aristocratic Mexican, Ruben Blades, who owns the sprawling horse ranch where they've secured jobs. Despite a nocturnal swim under the stars, director Thornton even manages to make their love scenes dull; at one point, they're stupidly commenting about having something up their noses. Miriam Colon scores as Cruz's aunt who's rightfully suspicious about Damon, this gringo who winds up in a Mexican penitentiary, albeit on false charges. Then there's what seems like an awkwardly added epilogue with Damon telling his tale of woe to a sympathetic West Texas judge, played by Bruce Dern. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "All the Pretty Horses" is ponderous, pretentious 3. Basically, none of the characters - except Miriam Colon's - exude passion or even interest. The actors seem to be going through the motions - and the audience senses it on an conscious or unconscious level, refusing to make an emotional commitment to the tale.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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