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A renowned former army scout is hired by ranchers to hunt down rustlers but finds himself on trial for the murder of a boy when he carries out his job too well. Tom Horn finds that the simple skills he knows are of no help in dealing with the ambitions of ranchers and corrupt officials as progress marches over him and the old west. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
I often wonder how pre video audiences were able to take in the full effect and minor nuances of films as we can today. Watching a film again and again allows one to really study the work and pick up the director's deep intent for character and plot.
Watching Tom Horn a few times allows one to see that it really is a good movie. And after more than 20 years in motion pictures, McQueen finally just fits into his role, and does not "act" or play Steve McQueen.
The first scenes are excellent. McQueen establishes his character as a man who knows, and has seen most of, what the west is about. He knows who he is, and what he's accomplished, so he doesn't need to brag. The way he virtually walks into a fight in the bar with the pompous British fighter and his manager is superb. "Well, if he ain't won the fight yet, then he ain't the champ yet" is delivered with believable aplomb. When he says the guy's mother would have to stand on his shoulders just to kiss Geronimo's ass it is priceless. Especially good is his question "OK, if I win this fight, then does that make ME champion of the world?" He knows he is going to get his butt kicked but does all this for principle's sake. His running out the door and yelling oh s***, then throwing the plate of food at the fighter is one of the better acting sequences done anywhere.
His work as the stock detective is classic McQueen without his earlier years of mugging and panning. Good stuff.
The open spaces of this film, and Horn's subsequent incarceration gave me a feeling of freedom and claustrophobia. It worked well
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