In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
"Nothing counts more than blood... the rest are just strangers," speaks Wyatt's father at the beginning of the film--the most important line perhaps in the movie, with the exception of Wyatt's own at the end "Some say it didn't happen that way," commenting upon a flashback recounting his brand of law and justice in the wild cattle town of Dodge City.
I wholeheartedly admit the film is long--but so are many other great films. I also admit that it is not the shoot 'em up Tombstone is, but this film is a far greater one, a character study of a man whose innocence is laid to rest by the harsh wilderness of both the American West and human nature. By the end of this movie, Wyatt is a used up and bitter man, and I would argue that this film was never meant to be a heroic portrayal of an individual, only a dark and complicated one. It reminds me thus of the greatest of character portrayals, Raging Bull--though I'm sure the parallel isn't obvious.
I probably am more forgiving of this film since I like Westerns, dark dramatic stories, and admittedly uneven plots, because the characters usually are so great in them. This one is no different, and was likely made for a viewer like me, and not the mainstream audience.
It's very ambitious, and successful, I believe, on its artistic merits. Whether it's "entertainment" for the masses, well that's another story altogether, and that story's name is probably "Tombstone."
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