Two young Texas cowboys on the cusp of manhood ride into 1940's Mexico in search of experience. What they find is a country as chaotic as it is beautiful, as cruel and unfeeling as it is mysterious, where death is a constant, capricious companion. Written by
Richard Foxx <email@example.com>
After Billy Bob Thornton completed his cut (said to be somewhere between three and four hours), Harvey Weinstein forced him to cut more than another hour from it. Peter Biskind suggests in his book Down and Dirty Pictures (2004) that this was at least partially done as payback for Thornton's refusal to cut Sling Blade (1996). See more »
The Beech 18 airplane that Don Hector flies from his ranch to Mexico City every week has a US registration number beginning with "N." Aircraft registered in Mexico have registration numbers beginning with "XA," "XB" or "XC." The filmmaker seems to have been aware of this, since most shots of the airplane have the "N" on the fuselage partially blocked by a car or person. See more »
In the opening credits, the Columbia Pictures emblem is not the 2000 one. Instead, it is the circa 1949 version with the woman holding the torch. This is what would have been used at the time the story is set. See more »
Cormac McCarthy's novel, All The Pretty Horses, the first part of his breath-taking Border Trilogy, is one of the most perfect source materials ever written. Add to this the impressive line-up of talent (Ted Tally adapting, Thornton directing, Matt Damon, back when he was a hot property the first time around, starring) assembled for the film version and it's fair to say my expectations were raised sky high. When the film came out it was buried by the distributor. I managed to catch it in the one week it played at a single cinema in Edinburgh and I would be lying if I didn't admit that the whole experience was a crushing disappointment. It wasn't that the film makers had ballsed the whole thing up, no it was much more frustrating than that. You could tell that somewhere in that film there was a masterpiece straining to get out. Individual sequences impressed but the whole thing moved at such a frenzied pace that the main characters' journey, a true rite of passage in the novel, had become damagingly truncated. The result was underwhelming but at the same time as been annoyed at the film I could tell it wasn't the film makers' fault. It was all too apparent that this was a great film that had had it's guts, it's heart, it's very essence, chopped out of it by a greedy distributor trying to market the film as some kind of Titanic / Young Guns cross over. Guess what, this movie was never going to appeal to the teeny boppers. If only the studio could have realized that and been true to the property they acquired in the first place. My suspicions were confirmed recently when I read an article wherein Matt Damon, a fine actor despite the criticism, claimed that Billy Bob Thornton's integral cut of the movie is the best he's ever been involved in. I don't know about you but that makes me want to see it. Apparently the studio are willing to release this extended cut on DVD (all revenue streams reach the ocean eventually) but Thornton won't settle for anything less than a full cinematic re-release. I can't say I blame him, I get the impression his film deserves at least that much. So for now I can't recommend this film, check out the novel instead and then the rest of Cormac McCarthy's back catalogue. But let's hope that in the not too distant future this film finally gets the treatment I suspect it deserves.
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