The retelling of an incident in Gonzales, Texas in 1901 revolving around a stolen horse, mistaken identity and a killing. An unusual story of the all too usual exploitation of the powerless in Texas History.
The entire cause of the problem evolves from the use of a deputy to translate. His command of Spanish is inadequate and he mistranslates what a witness tells the sheriff as to whether the real perpetrator of the crime is riding a mare (yegua) or a male horse (caballo). This error results in destroying a family and the death of an innocent man. Written by
The author of the book, Américo Paredes, hated this movie. According to Paredes, Gregorio Cortez did not shed one tear while he was in jail and yet, Cortez cries in the movie. Anytime someone would ask him his thoughts about the movie, he would be so angry about it that he would refuse to discuss the movie and instead, would have his wife tell them why he disliked it. See more »
In some shots during the courtroom scenes, one of the jurors can be seen to be wearing a modern pair of dark-rimmed spectacles. See more »
This was by far my favorite Olmos movie; he made the entire movie without (except for his last line) saying a word in English and yet tapped into our emotions, making us feel deeply for his character and know his thoughts; this was pure acting genius. The scene where he's talking with his wife and watching their kids play captivated me: I didn't need to understand a word they were saying to see he was a loving family man. Later, as he's alone for so much of the story, he had me sharing his fear and anguish.
It is both an intensely dramatic and a monumentally important film. As with "Salt of the Earth," "Burn," "Fast Food Nation," and such, it is disappointing to see such great films fail to reach a wider audience. I only found this film because it was in a video rental place that I frequented.
Incidentally, when I had the honor of meeting this by-then academy-nominated actor, I told him how impressed I had been with him as Cortez; he gave all the credit to the director. I appreciated his modesty, but I had to insist, his acting was also great!
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